Rock publications are quick to name (and rename) subgenres, declaring one dead and another triumphant, in a constant game of musical chairs with “the king is dead, long live the king” drama. One magazine proclaimed that melodic death metal “killed nü-metal dead.” A year or two before, the same mag championed a subgenre called “noisecore,” dominated by dissident acts. It all inevitably distracts from the potent power inherent in bands who remain pure in their intentions.
CHAMBER have the unique advantages of both foresight and hindsight, demonstrating reverence to bygone pioneers and provocateurs. They salute those whose landmark albums pre-dated the appropriation of “metalcore” by anemic boy bands with formulaic choruses and mall metal parts. They worship at the altar of do-it-yourself chaos merchants like Converge, Botch, Coalesce, and Disembodied, with the vision to incorporate the esoteric atmosphere of Deftones and Gojira.
The band’s full-length debut, COST OF SACRIFICE, is a gob-smacking, life-affirming, invigorating smack across the face, to anyone who dares to despair that the genre’s salad days are forgotten. Angry, ferocious, mournful, and at times blissfully melodic, CHAMBER deal in devilish speed and frantic nervosa, without sacrificing unrelenting heaviness. Emotional confessions abound in the lyrics, with a plainspoken examination of trauma and personal upheaval, befitting the music.
Often unhinged but never completely off the rails, CHAMBER temper their assault in powerful restraint, in terms of structure and maturity, balancing the blast furnace burst of their earlier output. The Ripping / Pulling / Tearing collection issued by Pure Noise Records, which gathered the band’s self-released EPs and a brand-new song, was the opening salvo in what is sure to be a long campaign of carnage. CHAMBER blend mayhem with melody, and headbanging with heaviness, without ever sounding disjointed beyond the type of irreverence of hardcore legend.
CVLT Nation heralded the band as “both surgically precise in execution and feral in attack.” Critics have zeroed in on the mashup of technicality and madness, drawing favorable comparisons to The Dillinger Escape Plan, with nods to death metal and even grindcore and industrial. Kerrang! included CHAMBER in a list of 6 Underground Metalcore Bands Redefining The Scene Right Now.
Jacob Lilly (vocals), Gabe Manuel (guitar), Chris Smith (bass), and Taylor Carpenter (drums) summon maelstroms of complex but clever riffage and percussive bludgeoning. Revolver Magazine correctly described the quartet’s music as “furious and ultimately catchy,” marveling at the band’s ability to mix instrumental proficiency with hardcore brutality. The songs on COST OF SACRIFICE are studies in strength from adversity. CHAMBER offer a stark reminder of the true spirit of hardcore, when the authentic community becomes a shelter for outcasts and outsiders.
CHAMBER have blazed a trail in clubs and theaters in North America and the UK, sharing stages with Counterparts, Can’t Swim, and Gideon, among others. Nashville, where they came together in 2017, is quickly emerging as a hotbed for this post-modern wave of noise, embodied by fellow groups like Orthodox, Howling Giant and Thirty Nights Of Violence. Carpenter is equally known for the band COVE. Lilly’s first tour as CHAMBER’s vocalist included double duty as bassist in Orthodox. Manuel and Smith played together in Hanging Moon, yet another area favorite.
There’s something to adore in CHAMBER whether one was weaned on Misery Signals or Slipknot. The band are at the vanguard of a full-on throat-ripping revival, in attitude and spirit, stubbornly pushing forward, with their own signature on what was in danger of becoming a lifeless genre. CHAMBER are champions of the outcast, with a foot in the past, and fists banging at the future.