Date: February 9th 2017
Venue: Sound Control, Manchester
Support: Void Of Vision / Make Them Suffer / Betraying The Martyrs
It’s been disputed that deathcore as a genre is one that is slowly fading away; recently Scott Lewis of Carnifex even said himself that he feels it’s only them, Whitechapel, and Suicide Silence who are still carrying that flag high in terms of established names. But, what about Utah’s Chelsea Grin? Are they worthy of joining their peers in that same breath?
Opening for them on their UK/European run of their tour, Australians Void Of Vision  are sadly also void of something that keeps them as a prospect to maintain your attention. Sure, their metal brushed hardcore bounce gets a few heads nodding, and a few seconds of crowd kill action, but nothing that quite captivates. Their matching uniforms akin to an amateur baseball team and moments of synchronised choreography don’t help much either.
Make Them Suffer , on the other hand, manage to pick up the pace and have established fans and newcomers alike looking on with foamed mouths for their half an hour long set. Sean Harmanis‘ screams border between hardcore and metalcore throughout, and a filled with grittly venom which, when combined with the juxtaposition of the crushing chords and blast beats from Nick McLernon and Tim Madden alongside the twinkle of keys and subtle cleans from Louisa Burton makes you wonder why these Perth lot aren’t higher up on the bill.
Coming over a little closer to home than the evening’s support acts so far, mostly Parisian heavy hitters Betraying The Martyrs  certainly pack an awful lot of showmanship, despite Aaron Matts‘ stage box seems a little detrimental when the packed stage is pretty cramped for a band of six as it is. Thankfully they steer clear of their cover of ‘Let It Go’, and though it’d be a lie to say BTM don’t keep energy levels high, it all seems somewhat forced and routine. Maybe it’s just not their night.
With the stage cleared, Chelsea Grin  took to the stage to take the night for their own, and right from set opener ‘Skin Deep’, the Utah outfit already claim their right to join the ranks of bands still championing the deathcore name. ‘Clickbait’ is a bit of a non-track, even live, but ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Scratching And Screaming’ both soar as much as they crush and, though frontman Alex Koehler may not be the most engaging frontman in the genre, few can match up to his hellborn roars and screams.
With the political instability riding across the US as of late, dedicating newest offering ‘American Dream’ to the controversial US President Donald Trump is a no-brainer, but it’s the harking back to older cuts of ‘My Damnation’ and the one-two encore of ‘Cheyne Stokes’ and ‘Recreant’ that shows us how apocalyptic the outfit can get. Are they the cream of the deathcore crop? Maybe not, but they’re not far off.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)