Derby Vic

July 15 1999

Well, when I arrived, there was a DJ doing his thing as the support slot. Strange. I mean, I don't understand it, and wouldn't pretend to. It didn't really move me as such, and it seems like the attempt to merge disperate sounds into one. But there were times when it seemed ok. Like I said, I just don't understand this sort of thing enough to really comment. But one thing that struck me was that virtually everyone that was in there was sat down. No movement or anything. Yet it felt to me that without a band there producing the sound, the focus was more on the crowd to do something. There wasn't that visual focus. In some respects, although it was totally foreign to what I'm used to, it makes you focus more on the music, which at the end of the day is what it was about. But I dunno. I'm confused. Which is probably a victory really for the guy doing the stuff.

Godflesh. yeah. Another in that long list of bands that I've never gotten round to buying anything by. But I was curious to witness them. And the impressions it left were that it was extremely intense. Yet my mind was drifting off a lot of times, thinking about other things. Maybe that's unfamiliarity with the music. It was definitely twisted stuff, from the overkill distortion on the vocals, to the sheer volume it was played at. If like me you suffer from tinnitus, earplugs are most definitely recommended for the Godflesh experience. And stick your head in a bucket of water if you think I'm a wuss for wearing them. The sounds made me think that this was genuine underground music. It's kind of scary. It's sounds almost bolted together to create something.Yes, it was noise. There are times when it works, times when it doesn't. It was ok, but I can imagine other times when I would've felt it was utter shite. The walls are reverberating from the sound. But the people down the front are getting it. They must recognise what is being created here, because creation is what it feels. Like some music flows, some is created. For me, they probably played about 15 minutes too long, I think this should be delivered in short doses. For the people that understood, it was probably too short. Whatever it was, it was one of the most aurally challenging things I've stumbled across in a long time. Will I be back? Dunno to be honest. I could take it or leave it. Depends on the mood.

Coal Chamber - Chamber Music RoadRunner Records

This band have developed a love/hate following. I tend towards the later myself. The debut was one dimensional, boring and derivative. I saw them live on more occassions than I wanted, because I was seeing Human Waste Project, and CC did little for me. But they do have a strong following. And the strength and style of the following is what in part inspires the hate element in others, of that Iím pretty certain.

So, for me I wasnít expecting much from this. Hell, to be honest, I was hoping that it wouldnít deliver much though, or maybe because, it is "eagerly aniticipated". Well, at least thatís what the blurb that arrived with it says. But, to be fair, this is a major improvement on the debut, and it does open up the doors of possibility for the band. They have pulled something off. Of course, this means itís just the start of the battle for them. Irrespective of how good this may (or may not) be, they have a lot of misconceptions to overcome in order to even win over the sceptics to give them a chance. The dyed in the wool fan, well, itíll be interesting to see how they react as well. Itís funny in that theyíve made an album which should see them grow, yet there is the risk that it could have the opposite action. The music is more mature. It is more complex, as evident on Tragedy with itís treated vocal chorus and unfurling riff. It initially feels less sloganeering as well, though a number of songs to tend to rely heavily on the repetition of a single phrase, Feed My Dreams, Not Living and El Cu Cuy being examples of this. A bit similar in that respect I guess to the latest Marilyn Manson. Itís musically more satisying, but ... sort of thing. Though Tylerís Song is a highlight, even going so far as to remind me of stuff on later day Ozzy albums. Which of course isnít the only time that name arises on this album. More later.

Anyway, Chamber Music itself opens with Mist, a sub one minute cello driven piece. You can probably over analyse and read much into it, the sign of new maturity, a relation to the album title drawing on the assumption that chamber music kind of means classical music. Whatever.

They claim that this music sets them apart from the rest of the "new metal" school. Thatís a bold statement and one that isnít strictly true. Sure, it is more melodic, and thereís a tendancy now towards creating riffs rather than distorted slabs of detuned guitars, that a lot of the current crop do. The intro to Untrue nicks the HWP spacey sound before moving to the crunch, but on for example El Cu Cuy Dezí vocal still bears a resemblence in the phrasing to that of some bloke called Jon Davis from some lot called Korn. Though thatís not a criticism this time, because itís the better style vocal that he employs, and itís actually a good song. Many other times Dez does go for his Cookie Monster impression though as he sings "Kill the man become the monster". Mind you, maybe thatís what itís about - Cu Cuy = cookie. Think about it and apply the Karl Earthtone9 approach of words that phrase similarly.

On the other hand, the Peter Gabriel cover Shock The Monkey, featuring the inimitable Oswald of Osbourne, is the more electro-mechanical side of the new metal thing, bringing to mind bands such as Orgy. So although theyíve certainly expanded themselves, theyíre not yet set apart. But they have laid the foundations. But, "whinge whinge, Ďkin covers AGAIN". Notice how itís all RoadRunner bands doing it? Suspicious? I await Soulfly covering Bob Marley on their next album.

Of course the songs of interest for me are the ones featuring Aimee Echo on guest vocals, Burgundy and My Mercy. Well, unlike the Oz track, the vocals are more in the bacground. Burgundy agains seems to show the band having listened to the more etheral moments on E-Lux while My Mercy is one of the more moody and melodic moments on the album, maybe a highlight, as is Shari Vegas. A few more of them and we may be talking about something.

Against the odds I actually like this. Itís not the greatest, I mean, in amongst 16 songs thereís quite a few that just pass you by and a few riffs that do sound re-cycled, but itís better than I anticipated. But like I said, they do have a battle, because although I like it, I donít know that I would be ready to deem myself a fan. I didnít think Iíd end up actually taking this much space on the album review. I mean "it sucks" wasnít meant to go on this long! And theyíre going to face a lot of (unnecessary) prejudice like that from people. The fight for them has only just begun. Still think they look stupid though. But hey, I didnít bring that up until the end, see, I concentrated on the music and gave Ďem a chance (pats himself on the back)

Available on RoadRunner Records.