Chelsea Grin

My Damnation

01. The Foolish One
02. Everlasting Sleep
03. Behind A Veil Of Lies
04. Kharon
05. My Damnation
06. Cursed
07. Calling In Silence
08. Oblivion
09. Last Breath
10. All Hail The Fallen King

[7/19/11]
[Artery Recordings]

I’m sure you’ve heard of Chelsea Grin, and by now you either love them or you hate them.  I’m quite positive that our opinion on the matter has been well-voiced on HBIH — we aren’t fans at all.  However, I was willing to try it out.  Let it be known that I did not enter into this record with high hopes.  I was, however, optimistic.  This is their second album, and third release overall.  Perhaps an evolution was made in a short time?

To put it frankly: no, it was not.

This is easily some of the most boring, uneventful, stereotypical deathcore I’ve heard in years. I’m quite sure more breakdowns are had than anything I’ve heard in quite some time.  The drums are almost constantly in a breakdown-esque rhythm with the snare on three. Truth be told, I didn’t even know where the first song ended and the second began, OR where the second song ended and the third began. Almost all of the songs sound exactly the same. Luckily, the fourth track, a pretty but predictable acoustic track, was there to break the monotony – and then, you guessed it, more of the same damn thing. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, but by the time the record ended, I thought I was on track seven. To restate; all of the songs sound exactly the same.

And the vocals…my god the vocals. The lows are acceptable, I suppose, despite lacking noticeable foundation. The highs, however, are atrocious.  They are so obnoxious in their delivery that I want to strangle vocalist Alex Koehler. It honestly sounds like he is choking on something and yelling vehemently to get it out. It’s an absolute chore to listen to. On occasion, he even does the vocal ‘technique’ where he yells in a normal voice, ascending to a screech in the same breath, a technique that I find absolutely repulsive. You may have heard this from sibling deathcore-pariahs Emmure.  I’m sure some people will find the vocals to be brutal and awesome, but I find it to be a total annoyance.

However, this record isn’t completely bad.  There are a couple of neat leads and solos given to us by Michael Stafford, and occasionally the group will focus on a melodic part for a while, giving us something to focus on while the band chugs away (“Last Breath” has an especially beautiful part).  There are a couple of noticable guests on vocals: Nate Johnson of Fit For an Autopsy and Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel. Phil’s part is especially epic, as it is very prevalent and far superior to Alex Koheler’s vocals.

However, the positives do not even come close to outweighing the negatives of the album. This is without question some of the lowest-tier deathcore my ears have come to burden. Occasionally the band give us a taste of what they could be, with the aforementioned melodic parts, but it’s merely just that: a taste. Unless you want to listen to extremely boring music, or have a thing for breakdowns making the bulk of an album, avoid this one at all costs.

Chelsea Grin’s My Damnation gets:

1/5

– GR

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