July 9, 2018 Chelsea Grin – Eternal Nightmare (Album Review)
If you think a new vocalist is going to make Chelsea Grin soft, then think again. Presenting their dirge of death known as Eternal Nightmare, the band return to slaughter eardrums on Friday, July 13, 2018, thanks to Rise Records.
Deathcore outfit Chelsea Grin (do you know your torture techniques?) was originally formed in 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Through the next decade of their career, the band would undergo a myriad of line-up changes while releasing four full-length studio albums, ranging from 2010’s full-length debut Desolation of Eden to 2016’s Self Inflicted.
A cult-classic of a band, if you will, Chelsea Grin have shown an immense dedication to their road ethic, and shared stages with nearly everyone in the scene, including (but hardly limited to) The Black Dahlia Murder, Every Time I Die, Emmure, Attila, Motionless In White, Of Mice & Men, Betraying the Martyrs, The Amity Affliction, The Word Alive, Carnifex, Sworn In, and Ice Nine Kills. They are also veterans of the Vans Warped Tour and will be performing all summer long on the Monster Energy Red Dawn stage.
Earlier in 2018, fans witnessed the amicable departure of Vocalist Alex Koehler due to personal reasons, along with the acquisition of Tom Barber (ex-Lorna Shore), leaving the band at a pivotal moment in their career. Now, the proof is in the blood pudding, if you will, as the “new” Chelsea Grin – Vocalist Barber, Guitarist Stephen Rutishauser, Bassist David Flinn, and Drummer Pablo Viveros – prepare to release their fifth full-length studio offering, Eternal Nightmare. The 11-song collection was produced by Drew Fulk (Motionless In White, Crown the Empire) along with Emmure Guitarist Josh Travis, and shows a red-hot Chelsea Grin back at their blistering craft with a vengeance.
Eternal Nightmare begins with chains dragging against a concrete floor and screams, providing a spine-tingling segue into the explosive fireball of “Dead Rose.” Here, meandering, racing guitars appear alongside Barber’s demonic growls and Djent-y, slamming bass riffs. Similarly, like the soundtrack to an exploitative Horror flick, “The Wolf” is an inferno that engulfs everything in its path, a slaughtering sucker-punch of sonic terror (or vicious delight).
As if in answer to its predecessor’s unbridled viciousness, “Across the Earth” begins with piano, which builds into something infectiously murderous. Here, Barber’s growls are superb, like the demon child of Legend’s Blix crossed with Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth; all spine-tingling and deliciously dirty. Next, “See You Soon” pulls no stops and instantly explodes like a Molotov cocktail of sound, digging multi-layered graves for the most wicked. Then, prepare to wear your hate like a badge of honor with the aptly-titled “9:30AM,” because who does not curse the very existence of humanity at this hour of the day?
Sirens and racing guitars battle for supremacy as the band builds into “Limbs,” where Djent-y notes return to anchor the backbone of yet another brutal offering that seeks to rip and tear. It would be standard fare for a Metalhead to fear that their favorite band might ‘go soft’ with a major personnel change, however, at this point in Eternal Nightmare, Chelsea Grin make good on the promise that, nope, that is not happening with this band.
“Scent of Evil” wafts layers of insidious growls with jackhammering sonics o’doom which continue into “Hostage,” where incendiary demonics create a barraging wall of sound that suitably represents the track’s claustrophobia. They dig deeper into the sonic mayhem with the blistering dirge of “Nobody Listened,” an exploration of all that is oppressive that will make your heart race to catch its schizophrenic beat, then they continue to lash out full-throttle on “Outliers,” a Djent-y promise that Chelsea Grin are beyond redemption.
Ultimately, they close out with an open-armed greeting, a welcoming to your “Eternal Nightmare,” where racing, melodic guitars weave around Barber’s barbaric vocals, creating a sludgy sonic nightmare that is the perfect, haunting note to end on. In fact, throughout the entirety of Eternal Nightmare, the album, there is never a dull moment. Fully embracing all things butchering in sound, Chelsea Grin have crafted an opus that is incendiary and shows the band firing on all cylinders, despite the chaos of the past few years.
Adversity can certainly make or break a band, snapping the necks of the weak and providing fuel for the fires of the passionately dedicated. With Eternal Nightmare, Chelsea Grin are proving that they will not be bowed, and they will not divert from the brutal formula that makes them so deliciously toxic in all the very best, headbanging ways. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Chelsea Grin’s Eternal Nightmare 4.5 of 5 stars.