Chelsea Grin - _Lifeless_
(Statik Factory, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (7 out of 10)
The viciousness of this EP is belied by the band picture of four clean cut (and one slightly edgy) young men from Salt Lake City, Utah, the international Mormon capital. (For those who care, their namesake is a Joker style mutilation.) They perform deathcore, but with the emphasis squarely on "death"; some passages could easily have been lifted from a brutal death or even grindcore record. I would not go so far as to say that the fans of these genres will appreciate this; it still remains "core" at its, um, core and unless your idea of metal extends no further than MTV's garbage, neither will this be the most brutal record out there. It does remain one of the heaviest albums I have heard in deathcore (is there such a subgenre as "brutal deathcore"?).

There are no silly clean vocals here -- there's simply no place that they could fit in; it's not as if _Lifeless_ is overflowing with melodies stolen from melodeath. There's no shortage of breakdowns and they do get a groove going on occasion. A couple of samples are used (including one that I sadly recognised from the mediocre teen comedy "Road Trip") and I suspect that these sexually charged samples stemmed from the brutal death and grind influence. Literally two are used and hopefully none will be used in future as they are an unnecessary distraction and add nothing to the songs, which on balance are fairly solid with a touch of technical expertise. This is not the strongest debut ever -- far from it -- but it's nothing to be embarrassed about either and bodes well for these newcomers.


(article published 15/4/2009)

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