Dez Fafara (vocals) and Meegs Rascón (guitar) formed the band in 1993, and soon acquired the services of Rayna Foss (bass) and Mike "Bug" Cox (drums). After creating a local stir and being promoted by Dino Cazares of Fear Factory, the band were signed to Roadrunner Records, only to be briefly dropped when Dez quit out of disagreements with his wife. Dez wound up getting divorced (which inspired the song "Unspoiled") and rejoined the band. After being a part of the very first Ozzfest in 1996, they released their self-titled debut, lead by the single "Loco," in 1997. It remains their most successful album, going Gold in the US.
Sharon Osbourne briefly became their manager through the time of their next album, Chamber Music, released in 1999. This partnership allowed Coal Chamber to bring in Ozzy Osbourne as a guest vocalist for a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey." Chamber Music in general altered the band's sound in order to have more of an electronic sheen and a better sense of melody, but the album didn't sell quite as well as the debut.
After Meegs and Dez publicly patched things up at a Devildriver concert (which involved a special rendition of "Loco") the band reunited in 2011 for a tour, with new bassist Chela Rhea Harper. Signing to Napalm Records, the band put out their fourth album, Rivals, in 2015. They reunited with Nadja Puelen prior to the sessions. The reunion didn't last long due to some more internal struggles, and the band went on hiatus in 2016. While Dez declared Coal Chamber dead in 2018, he clarified later that as far as one more reunion goes, he "wouldn't put it past us."
- Coal Chamber (1997)
- Chamber Music (1999)
- Dark Days (2002)
- Giving The Devil His Due (2003) (compilation of B-sides, remixes & demos)
- Rivals (2015)
Tropes associated with Coal Chamber include:
- Big "SHUT UP!": "No Home."SHUT UP, I'll kick you outSHUT UP, I'll do you in
- Big Word Shout: Too many examples to list.
- Careful with That Axe: Dez, pre-breakup.
- Cover Version: The aforementioned Peter Gabriel cover, featuring Ozzy!
- Greatest Hits Album: The Best Of Coal Chamber.
- Looped Lyrics: Too many examples to list.
- Madness Mantra: Dez came up with several of these on the debut."this is the way it's got to be, this is the way it's got to be, this is the way it's got to be, this is the way it's got to be....."
- Metal Scream: Dez and his monster growl. By Dark Days it was constant, even moreso on Rivals.
- Motor Mouth: The verses of "Loco" are delivered in a rapid-fire fashion.
- New Sound Album: Chamber Music toned down the aggression and added elements of Gothic Metal and Industrial Metal, to mixed reactions. Dark Days was closer to the sound of their self-titled debut, except a lot harder and faster.
- Nu Metal: An early Trope Codifier for the style. Coal Chamber captured what the whole scene looked like before the Hip-Hop influence became more prevalent around the Turn of the Millennium.
- Sanity Slippage: Dez's whole vocal style in the early days had this approach, going from a mumbled rambling of a verse to an unhinged bark on the chorus. Later, and especially post-Devildriver, he's all growls.
- Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted - Dez is a pretty laid-back dude in interviews, contrasted with the madman barking lyrics at you during Coal Chamber songs.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The band broke up because the band sans Dez got into methamphetamine, and he didn't want to fund their addictions. They didn't reform until the others cleaned up.
- Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted-Dez is a pretty laid-back dude in interviews, contrasted with the madman barking lyrics at you during Coal Chamber songs.
- The Smurfette Principle: It seems to be a rule that there must always be a female bassist in the band - namely, Rayna Foss, Nadja Peulen and Chela Rhea Harper.
- Soprano and Gravel: Dez would sometimes engage in clean singing to balance out the growls, though it's less "singing" and "tensed-up muttering".
- Studio Chatter: The Hidden Track on the self-titled debut is several minutes of joking around from the recording sessions.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Burgundy," a weird, spacey track from Chamber Music.
- Three Chords and the Truth: The band's riffs were a bit minimal, often only one or two chords. "Oddity" and "Tyler's Song" are good examples.
- Title-Only Chorus: "Loco," "Big Truck."