For Fans Of
Chelsea Grin seem to be either used as a good or a terrible example for modern metal these days. For as many people that love them, there’s an equal amount that hate them. But now with ‘Ashes To Ashes‘, which is by far their best release, that should all change for the better.
Produced by Diego Farris (Volumes), the sextet’s latest offering still retains the same brutality and deathcore aesthetics they’ve been riding since their inception. However, this time, there’s a stronger emphasis on melody and the metalcore side of things. As a result, everything is much more consistent, and it doesn’t become as grating and as tedious as their previous material.
Although opener ‘Playing With Fire‘ is the Chelsea Grin many will be familiar with: down tuned guitars, lots of breakdowns, plenty of high screams and brutal growls. While it’s definitely engaging, it’s still not all that surprising for them. At this point most listeners will just think ‘oh yeah, this is yet another Chelsea Grin album’ but it’s then that ‘Pledge Allegiance‘ really surprises. And not in the way that their old single ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell‘ did. This is an entirely new beast.
With a more typical song structure, and a more metalcore sounding chorus (don’t worry, there’s no cleans), the band initiates this song with inhuman vocals, heavier riffs, powerful bounce inducing breakdowns and a more sing-a-long like vocal phrasing. This makes the song one of the album’s best, and while it’s nothing new in terms of metalcore, the band nails it. In fact, ‘Cheers To Us‘ also follows a similar style and it’s in these moments that the group really grabs your attention. And of course, the inhuman sounding screams still show up here as well.
Furthermore, Chelsea Grin are showing off more sides to their music. For instance, ‘Morte ætèrna‘ opens with a short acoustic guitar intro, the two back-to-back instrumentals ‘Ashes…‘ and ‘…To Ashes‘, highlight some tight solos as well. ‘Waste Away‘ and the instrumental, ‘….To Ashes‘ show off some impressive guitar shredding and solos, all of which are tight and they don’t ever feel tacked on.
‘Dust To Dust‘ has to be the band’s bona fide anthem from now on! The gang vocals backing up most of the song adds a strong ‘live’ element to the track, and the lack of chuggs and an inclusion of higher register guitars also induces a far more metalcore tone. It closes out the album brilliantly. Sure, it ain’t revolutionary but it’s some of the best material the band has ever released.
The only issue with ‘Ashes To Ashes‘ is that it is far too long. With 15 songs racking up an hour length on the clock, it will definitely feel like a daunting listen at times.
Fans will be able to revel in the amount of material here and in just how good it is delivered. Haters on the other hand will have plenty of ammunition for their arguments, but hey, fuck the haters. Chelsea Grin just proved them all wrong with album number three.
1. Playing With Fire
2. Pledge Alleigance
3. Morte ætérna
7. Waste Away
9. …To Ashes
10. Angels Shall Sin, Demons Shall Pray
12. Cheers To Us
15. Dust To Dust