It’s exciting to watch a subgenre of music morph into something new before your very eyes. Over the last few years we’ve seen the rise of a new breed of metallic hardcore bands influenced by the noisey, dissonant acts of the late 90’s and early 00’s. This shift has been beautiful to witness, the birth of a nu-metalcore for the crazy, disjointed future we’ve found ourselves in.
Whereas the 00’s metalcore bands were raised on Iron Maiden and Metallica, which seeped into their soaring choruses and dual guitar leads, the nu-metalcore kids grew up on Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Disembodied, chaotic, angular acts who threw conventional musicality out of the window and smashed in its face with a steel toe capped boot. This new wave started with Code Orange and Vein.fm, and has continued with even younger acts like Thirty Nights Of Violence, SeeYouSpaceCowboy and Nashville’s Chamber. Cost Of Sacrifice, Chamber’s debut full-length and first for Pure Noise Records, sets the band right at the head of this pack, baring their teeth and ready to lunge for the world’s throat.
An exhilarating work of compressed metallic fury, Cost Of Sacrifice sounds as though it’s been pulled straight off the factory floor, still red hot and steaming. Somewhat similarly to The Dillinger Escape Plan’s masterpiece Calculating Infinity, though without ever reaching that work’s singular level of genius, Chamber have crafted a work of maniacally-focused brutality, so tightly-wound it feels like it could implode under the weight of its own pressure-cooked aggression at any given moment.
It’s a lean and muscular album, comprised of tracks that have been stretched to the furthest they can physically be taken. ‘The Edge Of Every Lie’ lasts barely ninety seconds before tearing away at itself and bursting into nothingness, while ‘Scars In Complex Patterns’ features an ending of nerve-shredding intensity, a build-up without release that leaves you blue-balled and bruised around the eyes. Every track is pushed to the very limit of relentlessness, which makes for a hugely satisfying, white-knuckle ride.
This laser-like precision to the mathy riffs and unconventional structures means that the songs never get the chance to become dull or unengaging. They grasp onto your collar and scream into your face before they’re then abruptly torn away and replaced anew. Opener ‘Fracture’ is a particular highlight, full of nervous guitars and structural changes that stomp around your head, boxing your ears with every dissonant stab and double-kick drum fill. ‘Paranoia Fills’ leaves a similar sting, shifting its structure and spatial dynamics to land an appropriately anxiety-inducing deathblow.
Underneath all the brutality, there’s also a fascinating industrial edge to Cost Of Sacrifice, as there is to much of the nu-metalcore canon. Not industrial in the 90’s sense of dark atmospherics and creeping disquiet, but industrial in that the music has an almost machine-like quality to its precision and force. Chamber’s machine, like Code Orange and Vein.fm’s, seems to be in a constant state of malfunctioning, fracturing and rebooting in a series of abrupt time-changes and explosive outbursts. The guitar work often has an eerie, inhuman quality to it, as does the language of the track titles; ‘Fracture’, ‘Scars In Complex Patterns’, ‘Disassemble Reassemble’. Perhaps the nu-metalcore kids, who were raised in the era of the social media and smartphones, have come to see technology through a damaged, unnerving and perpetually malfunctioning lens?
A potent work of white-hot metallic aggression, Cost Of Sacrifice should see Chamber comfortably ascend to the ranks of metalcore big boys. Though not quite a work of career-defining brilliance, it’s a savage, anxious work of incendiary metalcore that serves as an invigorating reminder that progress can be made by standing on the shoulders of giants, instead of being happy to linger in their shadows.