Review Summary: A solid album, albeit an abhorrent mess of poor lyrics, but a solid album nonetheless.
Salt Lake City deathcore group Chelsea Grin returns two years after their well received release, Ashes to Ashes
, and a lot has changed in the intervening two years. Goodbye lead guitarist Jason Richardson, hello Rise Records. Any inkling of the group's core sound may be maintained here, but the lyrical input is such an abysmal mess, as well as a flat out departure of the group's symphonic deathcore laurels. Richardson's absence affects Self Inflicted
, but not the way you'd think. The group's instrumentals remain a strong suit, but damn it if the lyricism isn't God awful.
One might find it unavailing to focus primarily on Self Inflicted
's poor lyrics, but that is the major problem with this record. The majority of the tracks penned here look as if they were pulled from an Emmure album sans Goodbye to the Gallows
. Opening track "Welcome Back", as well as several tracks we'll touch base on later, feature at least one line of lyrics, the likes of which are shown here ("We don't care anymore./We can give a *** less about being cured.") Gone is the band that relied far too heavily on breakdowns and in their place is a group that ruins its newfound melodic structure with a teen-inspired swear fest. "Clickbait" is an instrumental hard hitter, arguably the hardest hitter of the group's nine year career. This track too is riddled with poor lyrics. At its worst its this ("Emphasize the fact that you're a ***ing bitch./And while you're at it, you can publish this dick." and at its best, it's still only this ("*** the media./*** your magazine./*** your whole team./That's right./You all don't mean *** to me.")
"Skin Deep" isn't the greatest return to form, but does do a good job in further emphasizing the fact that Chelsea Grin is arguably the most instrumentally proficient act in modern metal. Alex Koehler is a strong vocalist, and that is not to be forgotten. "Scratching and Screaming" is a solid track as well, Pablo Viveros' drumming standing the spotlight throughout. Self Inflicted
is a stuck in neutral swear fest that, ironically, still ends up being the best Chelsea Grin album thus far. I sincerely hope the shift to Rise Records is not to blame for these abhorrent lyrics, because Chelsea Grin can do so much better, here's to hoping they DO do better in future releases.