Review Summary: My Disappointment is Immeasurable and My Day is Ruined
There was a large part of me dreading the listen of this album, after the release of the singles “Dead Rose”, “Hostage” and “See You Soon, I was fearing that the rest of the album would follow suit under their spell of repetition and simplicity. I couldn’t say I wasn't initially hyped to all holy hell when I heard Tom Barber was joining Chelsea Grin, and while Alex still remains one of my favorite vocalists, I saw no issue with the front man of Lorna Shore, creator of the absolutely marvelous Flesh Coffin possibly leading the band back to an upward takeback on the scene, as Self Inflicted left many disappointed. But that hype grew wary, Dead Rose was an incredibly weak single and the next two released dropped my hopes further. They were simplistic and repetitive, leading us into the albums major issue.
Everything is much too familiar
. Not as in the atmosphere the album builds, but as every song structure essentially involves multiple repeats of a verse that's usually the song title itself backed by some barely technical instrumentation. And I wish I wasn’t joking, the song verse of Hostage
literally goes along the lines of Hostage! Hostage
, Dead Rose
, Dead Rose! Dead Rose!
, Scent of Evil
(you guessed it) Scent of Evil! Scent of Evil!
. It feels lazy, boring, and quiet honestly pathetic coming from the band that released My Damnation
, which I consider one of the best core releases of all time.
And well, that's because this isn’t the same Chelsea Grin that released My Damnation. And I mean this literally, The only member remaining from that era is the bass player, let alone the fact no original members actually remain in the band with the departure of Alex. Along with this, there’s also a huge issue with the vocals, Tom mostly resides to an easily tiring mid-growl vocal backed by the drummers “lows”. There’s little vocal diversity between already undiverse tracks, no attempts at ear piercingly highs that bands been known for. The juvenile and simplistic lyrics wouldn’t be such an issue if I didn’t have to hear the same lines repeated throughout the songs, over and over once again bringing us back to the albums main issue of repetition. The only songs that try something new is CG’s version of Encoder showcased as The Wolf
along with the weak ballad attempt, Across The Earth
The album does have one thing that does save it from being completely abysmal, and that's the instrumentation. And I don’t mean the awful structure its used in, but how heavy, how crushing and aggressive it can feel. The intro to “See You Soon” almost makes one believe that you would be introduced into a decent song but alas it falls into that same entrapment of y’know it, simplicity and repetition. This is what actually makes the self titled track one of the better songs on the album, as the instrumentation makes the repetitiveness nonsense bearable. The other decent track being Nobody Listened
, which of course falls into the same tried and true repetition, but this time the structure of the song actually compliments it, actually building a dark atmosphere before its breakdown. Outliers
being another example that is almost saved by instrumentation that is unfortunately never built upon.
I hate to use the word "Generic" but it's unfortunately the best way to describe this album. CG's not trying to introduce a new sound (Well I suppose a pre-Look at Yourself Emmure and a drunk Lorna Shore abortion baby is a new sound), not trying to outdo their previous records and honestly not even trying at all. As a long time fan of this band, this album at least in my eyes, marks the death of Chelsea Grin.