‘Self Inflicted’ is the new album from Salt Lake City Deathcore band Chelsea Grin. It follows up their well-received 2014 release, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and attempts to kick the heaviness up a gear. Chelsea Grin have become known for their abrasive style, with harsh down tuned guitars, relentless bass driven drum work and extreme vocal style. Unfortunately this is about all they bring to the table with this new record.
The lyrics are a particular low-point, and feel like they were written just so the album had vocals, as it seems very little effort was made to come up with anything too new or exciting. The first two songs on the album ‘Welcome Back’ and ‘Four Horsemen’ are okay if a little uninspiring but when we reach ‘Love Song’ we are confronted with some exceptionally cringe-worthy, angst-ridden lyrics. For example, the exceedingly over-used “get the fuck out” and “I don’t want to see your face”. These phrases and other, similar ideas are repeated across the album, with the repetition of how much the singer doesn’t “give a fuck” proving to be extremely testing. The swearing throughout all of the songs happens so often that it loses all edge or effect and in the end seems like it’s used just to pad out the syllable count.
Although there are definitely bands out there within Deathcore who strong lyrically, this is not something the genre as a whole is famed for. With this in mind, even a lyrically weak album can be redeemed by the music accompanying it. ‘Self Inflicted’ is however, a little lacking in this department as well. The instrumentation and production throughout the record are ‘okay’, but nothing new and some songs on the album are indistinguishable from others. This result being the whole album sounding a little one-note with breakdowns losing any impact and one chugging riff bleeding in to the next. There are breaks in the repetition however, with ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Scratching and Screaming’ proving that Chelsea Grin do have it in them to write some more interesting and original material. These two songs are unfortunately the high point of an otherwise lack-lustre effort.
‘Self Inflicted’ will be unlikely to win too many plaudits, and may only appeal to hard core Chelsea Grin fans. It is a forgettable release, and even though there is not a single track which goes over the four minutes in length, it still feels like most of the songs run out of ideas at around the two minute mark. Apart from its attempt to be their hardest release to date, Chelsea Grin’s ‘Self Inflicted’ does not offer a whole lot else.
‘Self Inflicted’ is out now on Rise Records.
This Chelsea Grin article was written by Matt Amery, a GIGsoup contributor