If I had to take a stab at it, I’d say that Chelsea Grin falls somewhere between Emmure and Thy Art Is Murder on the Deathcore Richter scale. Lots of breakdowns triggered kick drums, and chugging guitar bits to please the ear gauged masses, with the occasional flash of serious technicality, are in order on new LP Eternal Nightmare (Rise). That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with these Salt Laker’s past output, but the shame is that Eternal Nightmare could’ve been more.
Before I get to what I enjoyed on Eternal Nightmare, can we address the title? Not to play the role of metal police, but did no one think of the Vio-lence semi-classic before settling on the name? That’s like naming your new LP Souls of Black and hoping no one notices. That out of my system the best material on Eternal Nightmare is when Chelsea Grin make themselves work outside of the particular confines of Deathcore. ‘See You Soon’ borrows liberally from Fit For An Autopsy’s Gojira inspired riff book, but the slavish devotion to crunching groove adds lots of pep to its step. Chelsea Grin also delves into the Carnifex/Bleeding Through bag and infuse ‘Across the Earth’ with European ambiance and weary keyboards. On ‘The Wolf’ they go for the Code Orange route and add industrial layers to the hardcore crunch.
Eternal Nightmares cracked façade starts to show when the keyboards and melodic riffs are put away in favor of that tried and true Deathcore guitar chug/drum syncopation. I guess it’s a riot to practice pit karate to, but in record form, it paints a limited picture. ‘Limbs’ and ‘Cent of Evil’ smash and wreck as expected but lose me when they throw away any memorable riffs or leads in favor of monochrome destruction. If Deathcore is supposed to be the melding of hardcore and Death Metal, when did it become so cut and paste? My guess would be the early success of Suicide Silence, but that’s a forum fight for another day.
That Deathcore taste you know and love is still here, but when is it going out of fashion already?