REVIEW: Chamber – Cost of Sacrifice [2020]

Artist: Chamber

Album: Cost of Sacrifice

            Everything in life costs something. There’s no such thing as a free lunch—or so the adage goes—and, indeed, every “free lunch” does bear a deeper and more sinister burden. Everything comes with a price to paid, a cost that’s owed. That cost can be financial, physical or personal indenture…or, it can be more. It can be an emotional fee paid from the core of one’s being. Formless, furious and deeply emotional—in other words, it can be Cost of Sacrifice. More than a sneaky segue, Cost of Sacrifice is the breakout full length album by bustling, brutalizing upstarts Chamber. Having spent much of 2019 touring with the likes of Counterparts, Varials, The Acacia Strain and more, Chamber built up a hefty name for themselves, and with that name came lofty expectations. In short, The Cost of Sacrifice shatters just about all of them. One half hour of pulverizing, punishing aggression that oscillates between scathing speed and spine-shattering heaviness, Cost of Sacrifice is an immolating release by one of metalcore’s brightest-shining rising stars, making it a must-hear record going into the end of an otherwise perilous year.

            Instrumentally, Cost of Sacrifice is positively relentless. Once “Fracture” kicks off, Chamber don’t really let up until the record is nearing its end. Built on a foundation of break-neck drumming, songs like “Paranoia Bleeds” and “Visions of Hostility” see insanely speedy fills transitioning into gutbusting breakdowns without skipping a beat. Meanwhile, “Scars in Complex Patterns” is a catchier cut from Cost of Sacrifice, with bouncier drumming (which still doesn’t lack intricacy) serving as a firmament for bold, robust bass and spastic fretwork. With thick layers of groovy bass coating Chamber’s crushing, flashy drumming, songs like “Disassemble Reassemble” and “In Cleansing Fire” pack a dense low end that gives every breakdown a hearty helping of oomph—just as the band’s guitar keeps every track moving from razor-sharp riffs to ruthless breakdowns, covering massive amounts of territory in between. “Scars in Complex Patterns,” as well as “Disassemble Reassemble” see the band using repetitive, looping fretwork to build into crushing, climactic episodes of jarring heaviness. In between, the band wreak havoc with drop-of-a-dime changes in riff and pattern, bombarding the listener with everything from panic chords to pulverizing fills and fleet footwork. Chamber’s Cost of Sacrifice is an adrenaline-filled, no-frills display of modern metalcore mastery, nothing less.

            Chamber’s vocal element is just as abrasive as their crushing instrumental components. Cost of Sacrifice boasts a constant barrage of abrasive screams that vary from shrill shrieks to gritty, raw yells, each perfectly placed to fit the relative mood of the music serving as their canvas. “Disassemble Reassemble” is a strong example of this; with shrill screams that ebb and flow perfectly with the cyclic nature of the song’s fretwork. Other songs—“In Cleaning Fire” for example—are a spastic onslaught of harsh vocals that work in perfect harmony with the hectic barrage of percussion that accompanies them. With vocal moments that sound almost akin to late 2000s mathcore, and others that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early deathcore record, Chamber’s vocal element is wonderfully diverse, keeping the listener engaged even during songs that seem to otherwise blend together. In this aspect, Chamber retain a lot of dynamism and variety throughout the half-hour of hell that is Cost of Sacrifice, minimizing the amount of times the listener has to think to themselves “wait, haven’t I heard this song already?” Especially in comparison to many of the band’s peers.

            Cost of Sacrifice is a monstrous effort by Chamber. Energetic as hell, yet densely packed with highly moshable moments, it checks just about every box that one could want from a metalcore record. Built to satisfy both the nostalgic heavy music lovers and those who are just getting their feet wet, Chamber are unapologetically themselves—even when some songs start to run together—and never relent during the entirety of the band’s robust label debut full length release. And what’s more? Cost of Sacrifice only means sacrificing about $10—which isn’t such a high toll for such an immersive and engaging record.


For Fans Of: Vatican, Boundaries, Varials, The Acacia Strain

By: Connor Welsh