Chelsea Grin – Evolve EP
Record Label: Artery Recordings / Razor & Tie
Release Date: June 19th, 2012
When I was about 15-years-old, I listened to a lot of heavier music, mainly metalcore, post-hardcore, and deathcore. I still do enjoy some of it today, but most of it, I really just don’t like anymore. The music scene has gotten a lot more saturated with these types of bands, and the problem is, most of the talented ones are overshadowed by the generic ones. Deathcore six-piece Chelsea Grin is one of those bands that I haven’t listened to very much in the last few years. However, they released a new EP entitled “Evolve,” so I thought I’d take a trip back down memory lane to see how it is. I wasn’t surprised that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed their earlier material when I was a few years younger. However, I do enjoy this EP to a degree.
The EP starts off with “The Second Coming,” and it starts off quite slowly, but then suddenly, vocalist Alex Koehler’s signature screech kicks in. That’s the mainly problem I have with this EP and with the band. I was never that big on Koehler’s vocals. His death growls are pretty solid, but his screeches I do not like whatsoever. They’re rather grating after awhile. Thankfully, this EP is only about 25 minutes, so there’s not much to take in. That’s a pretty fitting length for a band like this. As for the song itself, it’s rather generic; there’s really not much to take from a band like this. That’s why I really stopped listening to this genre for the most. People like it, and that’s fine, but it’s not my cup of tea, so to speak. The only thing I really enjoyed is the guitar work by guitarists Jason Richardson, Jaek Harmon, and Dan Jones. What does make them stand out is having the three guitarists, and Jason Richardson is the former guitarist of Chicago deathcore band Born Of Osiris, and that influence is really seen on this EP for the first time. Their guitar work is a bit more intricate than on past releases, which is nice. However, there’s not much to take in. The same can be said for almost every other track, essentially.
One thing that marks this release as different from their others is the use of clean vocals on a few tracks, the first being second track “Lilith.” I don’t like Koehler’s clean vocals whatsoever, either. They’re rather generic, but they do provide some contrast, and it’s a bit different, which does work. Throughout the EP as well, there are some rather interesting electronic flourishes, like on the end of first track “The Second Coming.” Those are something a bit new as well, so while this EP is rather slacking in some areas, they are trying something new.
The only track I could say I enjoyed was the last track “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The title makes me think of the military’s policy on homosexual servicemen and women, but that has nothing to do with the song, I’m sure. It starts off rather slow, and with clean vocals from Koehler. While I can’t stand his cleans, they’re rather mediocre this time around, so they’re not completely awful.
I have mixed feelings on this EP; on one hand, I do like this band to some degree, however, they’re not very original at all. While it’s okay if some bands aren’t original, but they aren’t that good, though. The only thing I really like is three-man guitar onslaught. The guitar work is very technical and quite nice, actually. Other than that, this EP is very generic, and slightly boring. It all sounds the same to me, but they are trying something different, which is nice. The song picks up a bit again, but it’s the one track on here that actually is pretty unique. If anything, this is the track I would recommend. The sixth track on here is a bonus “remix” track of the song “The Human Condition,” which is from their 2010 debut record “Desolation of Eden.” I don’t know why it’s on here, but it doesn’t really add anything to the EP.
However, this is a band who’s quite popular in Hot Topic’s everywhere, but if you do enjoy this band, pick it up. I don’t think fans will be disappointed with this, or even if you just like deathcore, this is worth a listen or two. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but far from the best.