"Giving the Devil His Due" (Roadrunner; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


"Giving the Devil His Due" is a collection of re-mixes, b-sides, early demos and live tracks gathered by the band and released so you wouldn't forget who they are until they can get their act together and get a new studio CD released. That being said, this collection of rare and unusual tracks is a notch above the norm. In other words, the songs hereon don't sound like they were never previously released for a reason. Instead, they all sound pretty damn good.

The re-mixes are what you've probably come to expect from re-mixes - slightly different versions of songs you've heard before. As re-mixes go, the ones on "Devil" are, well ... remixes. They're okay to listen to and they'll probably remind you why you liked the original version of the song in the first place.

The CD starts with "Headstones and the Walking Dead," an outtake from the band's self-titled album with vocals recorded just this year. "Headstones" is a great song to start the album with, dripping with great atmosphere and rocking heavily throughout. The other tracks include original versions of "Pig" and "Not Living," more out-takes, these from the "Chamber Music" and "Dark Days" recording sessions (songs that would have fit on both albums just fine), a "between-albums" soundtrack recording called "Blisters," and a raunchy sounding live version of "Big Truck." The final tracks are all demos: "I," "Oddity," "Sway," "Unspoiled," "Loco" and "Babbit," the latter two from the band's first ever demos.

"Giving the Devil His Due" is impressive due to the fact that the songs hereon are collected from throughout the band's career and, despite occasionally differing production values, they sound great together on one CD.

Coal Chamber: B. Dez Fafara - vocals; Meegs Rascon - guitar, backing vocals; Rayna Fossrose - bass; Mike "Bug" Cox - drums; Jon Tor plays drums on the five demo tracks.

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"Dark Days" (Roadrunner; 2002)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs


"Dark Days" marks Coal Chamberís third release. Coal Chamber came out on the scene strong with their 1997 self-titled debut. They toured off of the album opening for the likes of Pantera and the 1998 edition of Ozzfest establishing a strong fan base along the way. Coal Chamber transcended genres picking up fans of Goth, metal, and rock along the way. They followed up their debut with the 1999 "Chamber Music" that only mildly appeased listeners outside of their "Goth" fan base. So it is with anticipation - and a make or break mentality - that their junior effort "Dark Days" is released.

First off, you can hear a return to their earlier sound. The album maintains a bass driven / growling vocal blend. Lyrically though it is much improved with Dez Fafaraís psyche of frustration, tension, and just overall being pissed, explored well beyond anything on their earlier works. 

"Dark Days" also sees some unique songs that return to the relative simplicity that made them so appealing with their debut. "Rowboat" is readily an album highlight with its drooling "get out of my rowboat" chorus and heavy handed guitars. Track eight, "Friend," sees a coy parallel to Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" with Fafara's austere "I bet you know this song is about you." The nod is one that I doubt the majority of hard core Coal Chamber fans will be able to pick up, let alone appreciate. 

For the most part "Dark Days" as indicative by the title is exactly as it sounds--a bleak peering into the musical evolution of Coal Chamber. While lacking the ferocity of their debut, "Dark Days" still manages to pull off the solid signature Coal Chamber sound of seething drum and bass lines matched with livid vocals.

Coal Chamber is: B. Dez Fafara (vocals), Miguel "Meegs" Rascon (guitar), Mike Cox (drums), and Rayna Foss-Rose (bass). 

More information about Coal Chamber can be obtained from their official web site:

"Dark Days" (Roadrunner; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


I don't know if I'm so pleased with Coal Chamber's "Dark Days" because it's so much better than their previous album (which it is) or because my musical taste has become ever-so-slightly more extreme (which it has). Regardless, "Dark Days" will stay on my playlist for a hell of a lot longer than "Chamber Music" did. I've spun it several times already and it gets better with each play.

Although the band might hate me for saying so, "Dark Days" reminds me a little of Rob Zombie. It's dark, it's heavy and it's got a little of that horror atmosphere going for it. Even the cover art brings to mind the mild horror of legendary author Ray Bradbury's "Dia de los Muertos" stories. But Coal Chamber isn't comic book-ish like Zombie is. Instead, the band's music and lyrics bring forth genuine emotion - anger, frustration, pure rage. This stuff will sound great live because it's written with passion and that passion will translate well to the stage.

I've got a couple of favorite tracks on this CD. "Drove" has a great ebb and flow to it, rising and falling like an angry tsunami. The crunching guitars of the CD's first track, "Fiend," draw you into the CC killing machine as though your necktie's caught up in it. "Rowboat" is a haunting rocker that says as much with its silent moments as it does with its musical ones.

Will "Dark Days" put Coal Chamber back on the musical map much like their first album did (and their second album could not?). I don't know. Maybe. It's certainly a step ahead for the band when they most needed one. I don't think Coal Chamber fans will be the least disappointed.

Coal Chamber: B. Dez Fafara - vocals; Miguel "Meegs" Rascon - guitar; Mike Cox - drums; Rayna Foss-Rose - bass. 

For more information, check out

"Chamber Music" (Roadrunner; 1999)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers


Coal Chamber owe a lot to Rob Zombie with "Chamber Music." They use the same style that Zombie is famous for to push their musical point across here. You can also hear some NIN and Orgy influences throughout. 

"Chamber Music" could be labeled as "Updated Goth." The growling vocals are here with a new electronica / industrial sound and driving guitar that is very up front.

Touring with Ozzfest obviously helped them grow musically; however, they don't show a lot of growth here in the songwriting department. They're still very aggressive and continue to force back what's considered the norm in order to reveal the truth of what really gets their goat, but they lay it all down with just a guitar riff or two and then dub it over, twisting it to their style. 

One track that stands out (or sticks out) is their cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey." With Ozzy Osbourne lending his voice and Orgy's Amir Derakh helping with additional mixing, it's hard not to think that the band wasn't hoping for a big boost with a cover song. Orgy's rendition of New Order's "Blue Monday" helped Jay Gordon and the boys tremendously.

After a couple of spins you can hear something new emerging from Coal Chamber which will excite present fans and, yes, may even conjure up a few new followers. It's definitely worth a listen, just to hear the new styles they've adopted and adapted to.

Coal Chamber: B. Dez Fafara - vocals; Megge Rascon - guitar, backing vocals, and keyboards; Rayne Foss-Ross - bass; Mike "Bug" Cox - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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