“It ain’t what you say / it’s what you don’t do”—just one of my favorite lines from the new 69 Chambers album, Torque. I’m not sure how well known 69 Chambers is in Europe—I’d wager they have more name recognition there than in the US—but I’ll give a quick bio here: 69 Chambers is the brain child of Nina Treml and Tommy T. Baron, otherwise known as Thomas Vetterli (Coroner, Kreator). The two, by the way, are married. (Sorry to smash your dreams there, fan boy, but it’s a well documented fact that all the beautiful heavy metal women in Switzerland are married to guitar gods.)
69 Chambers comes to us out of Zurich, the breadbasket of heavy metal. The band has existed in one form or another since 2001 and is currently on Massacre Records. Torque was released April 2012 and is a contagious bit of a well produced, well balanced, groove metal. The current line-up includes Nina on bass, guitars and vocals; Tommy on guitars (he’s the producer as well. That’s right, music producer extraordinaire, husband to Swiss metal goddess, heavy metal guitar legend all rolled into one—makes you want to revisit your career aspirations); and Diego Rapacchietti (Paganini, Silent Memorial) on drums. Featured on the opening track, ‘Cause and Effect’, is Christian ‘Chrigel’ Glanzmann (Eluvieitie).
If there’s one word I would use to describe Torque—from the album to the ‘Cause and Effect’ video produced by Motor Productions—it would be ‘‘class’. This album and this band exude class. Tommy’s melodic riffs work in perfect tandem with Nina’s pounding bass and Diego’s unrelenting drumming. Throughout the storm weaves Nina’s strangely continental vocals offset by Chrigel’s guttural screamo on one track and I have no idea who else’s on the others—Nina’s I presume. At any rate, it all orchestrates to 14 tracks (60 solid minutes) of heavy, visceral and, above all else, uncompromising molten metal. The power trio sounds like they’ve been playing together for ten years although it’s more like ten months. Extremely impressive is all I have to say. Not a bad song on the album, though for me “Cause and Effect’, ‘Burn Some Gasoline’, and ‘Anhedonia’ are stand outs. As a side note, anhedonia is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by the inability to experience pleasure from activities that typically induce pleasure. Had to look that one up. Damned that heavy metal music for turning me on to literature!
I started off by saying that 69 Chambers has low name recognition in the US, which is really a shame. You want a band like this to get the attention and respect they deserve. Looking into my heavy metal crystal ball—which is hard to do because it’s pitch black—I see the following scene unfolding: With Tommy stepping into the spotlight, a slew of loyal Coroner fans will discover 69 Chambers; they’ll all fall in love with Nina and before they know what happened, Diego will beat them into submission. Fade to black.