Coal Chamber was founded around 1995 with the membership of Dez Fafara (vocals), Muguel Meegs Rascon (guitar/vocals), Rayna Foss (bass) and Mike Bug Cox (drums) but they split soon after their creation only to reform quickly after. The face pierced group would sign to Roadrunner' to release Coal Chamber (1997), a very Korn like release with the track Loco almost an exact clone of Korn's Daddy, down tuned guitars and quirky/tortured vocals and all; a coup that saw them become the darlings of the Metal press, a press that had increasingly come to reward duplication and not innovation. In fairness Coal Chamber innovated in ways the press could never have comprehended for other tracks on the album showed their true talents with Fafara's Death growl mixed with a Rage Against The Machine bass grooves.
Their musical style came to full exposure on their follow-up humorously titled album Chamber Music (1999) a platter that even included a cover of Peter Gabriel's Shock The Monkey!! Although the second album made 21 U.K. (22 U.S.) and proved to be more innovative than the first effort, it was nonetheless seen as lacking the crunch and bite of the first. The band managed to catch the attention of Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne who became their manager, though they later parted ways over personal and creative differences, a theme which continued within the band causing them to take a break from touring and resulting in their non-participation in the Tattoo the Earth tour in 2000.
More change was in the wind when Rayna Foss married to Sevendust's drummer and took some time off while Nadja Porombka took her spot temporarily during promotional duties after the album release. The follow-up Dark Days (2002) would prove to receive mixed reviews. Bass guitarist Rayna Foss had left the band to raise her daughter shortly after the album was recorded; she was replaced by Nadja Peulen who had taken Foss's place during her pregnancy between the first two albums. In the end, Foss fell out with frontman Dez Fafara, stating that she and her husband had "found Christ" and would be leaving the band for good.
The revolution of change continued, when in May 2002, it was announced that the band had broken up after an on-stage altercation between Fafara and Rascón during a show in Lubbock, Texas. The pair had been fighting verbally before the show and continued to fight on-stage with Rascón hitting Fafara in the head with the headstock of his guitar. Fafara then announced, "This is the last Coal Chamber show ever!" before storming offstage. The band attempted to continue the show with Rascón on vocals but were forced to stop the show altogether with Cox demolished his drum kit before storming offstage. The band managed to patch things up long enough for an appearance on the TV show Last Call with Carson Daly and a summer tour with American Head Charge, Lollipop Lust Kill and Medication; these would be the last shows the band played. In October 2002, Cox was fired after several personal disputes with Fafara and Rascón.
In 2003, the compilation album, Giving the Devil His Due was released which included several demo tracks submitted by the band prior to their signing with 'Roadrunner Records' in 1997, along with several alternative studio recordings and remixes of various tracks from their previous albums. The album proved to be their last for they announced their break-up shortly after, with vocalist Dez Fafara having since formed Devildriver, where he eventually recorded six albums.
In August 2004, 'Roadrunner Records' released The Best Of Coal Chamber.
In September 2011, Fafara, Cox and Rascón officially reformed the band with bass guitarist Chela Rhea Harper, to play the Soundwave shows in Australia.
Nadja Peulen officially reunited with the band in October 2013, and the band signed to 'Napalm Records' the following year; Rivals resulted in 2015. The track, I.O.U. Nothing was released online in March of 2015, and released a lyric video for Suffer in Silence featuring Al Jourgensen (of Ministry) the following month.