With an evolve or die mentality changing the face of deathcore in recent years, the archetypal parade of bone-head breakdowns and juvenile sloganeering has not only revealed a host of dead-eyed sluggers content to rest on their laurels, but also the fact that the genre has thrown up so few bands of any enduring worth. And, whilst many of their fellow scene leaders have embraced transformation and abandoned the cut ‘n’ paste formula (Whitechapel, Job For A Cowboy), Utah sextet Chelsea Grin seem reluctant to entirely let go of their deathcore roots.
And so, whilst ‘Self Inflicted’ is undoubtedly the most extreme and aggressive release from the band yet, there is still that nagging impression that their signature brand of tunnel vision brutality just doesn’t do enough. Indeed, beyond the fearsome death metal blows of ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Welcome Home’‘s mechanical bludgeon, Chelsea Grin rarely stray from their template of precision rhythmic violence, and on the scarce occasion that they do, such as the rather trite love story theatrics of ‘Never, Forever’, the band delve into territory which at best just doesn’t suit them, and at worst comes across as somewhat plastic and cringe-worthy.
There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had here, the venomous likes of ‘Clickbait’ containing enough explosive power to make even the most frothing of deathcore detractors run through a wall, yet it’s an unfortunate reality that ‘Self Inflicted’ is just too one dimensional to possess any real staying power.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)