You rewrite your future when you change perspectives, a lesson CHAMBER have learned in a big way.
Formed in 2017 in Nashville, the quintet—hailed by Revolver as “one of the most technically pugnacious hardcore bands around”—draw a not-so-straight line through their musical history on RIPPING / PULLING / TEARING, their debut release for Pure Noise. The collection culls together Chamber’s catalog to date: 2018’s Hatred Softly Spoken EP (now featuring re-recorded vocals from new frontman Jacob Lilly) and “Final Shape / In Search of Truth” 7-inch, along with a brand-new track, “Replacing Every Weakness.”
One listen to Ripping / Pulling / Tearing reveals a band who are students of heavy music, as they effortlessly shapeshift between prodigious, flashy mathcore and devastatingly punishing hardcore in the same breath—all the while adding their own refreshing spin on the genre. At the same time, their musical evolution, informed by a few key member additions, is evident at first blush.
Lilly joined Chamber in 2018 in the middle of a nationwide tour, while guitarist Mike Moynihan is the most recent addition to the group. The pair have helped push Chamber—which also includes guitarist/vocalist Gabe Manuel, bassist Christian Smith and drummer Taylor Carpenter—further creatively than ever before, challenging the group to refine and refocus their songwriting into an even sharper, more lethal sound that’s not an ounce less compelling.
“We’d never had anyone put a microscope up to how we’ve written before,” Manuel says of his new bandmates’ impact on Chamber’s current sound. “You can definitely tell the songs are from different periods of time, and it’s cool to see the progression.”
Whereas “Final Shape / In Search of Truth” found the band stepping outside their wheelhouse by placing an emphasis on maximum chaos, “Replacing Every Weakness,” a taste of the sound they’re developing for a forthcoming 2020 LP, dials back the bedlam in favor of something a little more cohesive. (“Instead of having 13 riffs that don’t repeat, we wanted to find some structure,” Manuel explains. “Some of the most interesting music is written through that lens, and it’s actually harder to do than putting pieces together thoughtlessly.”)
No matter the direction they take as they continue to challenge both listeners and themselves, Chamber have already played a significant, lasting role in elevating underground heavy music, especially in Nashville. And, at a time when counterculture has become a catch-all for anything even slightly left-of-center, Chamber’s steadfast disavowment of their hometown’s predominant musical identity provides them the ultimate sense of authenticity, lurking beneath the surface of the mainstream to raise a new wave of metal.
“People have their preconceived notions of what Nashville is, but there’s a really awesome sense of interconnectedness between musicians from different genres,” Manuel says. “People in pop-punk bands and hardcore bands have this shared understanding that we’re trying to do the same thing. You’re never going to let genre tags get in the way of that.”