Chelsea Grin – Self Inflicted album review

Utah brawlers Chelsea Grin pack more punch than purpose with new album

Chelsea Grin, Self Inflicted album cover

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Chelsea Grin aren’t the kind of band to dance around the idea of aggression and Self Inflicted, is undoubtedly their most extreme release to date.

There’s no fucking around with blastbeats, scratching vocals and floor-punching chuggery, proving just why the Salt Lake City mob are the archetypal deathcore band in 2016. It’s pure, mindless brutality but that’s the point. This isn’t music to stroke your chin to, but to throw yourself through a wall to, face first.

Self Inflicted rarely diverts from the three-minute-bludgeon template as layers upon layers are piled onto each track, adding to its heaving frame. And while lead single Clickbait is a throat-shredding barnstormer with a ‘Fuck the media, fuck your magazine’ lyric coming at you like a cobra spitting venom, it’s fair to say that Chelsea Grin have never been known for their lyrical dexterity. At times Self Inflicted feels a little immature with the antagonistic vocals aimed at nobody in particular, despite claiming ‘I am your worst enemy’ and to ‘Stay the fuck out of my life’. When they do change tack, such as on the likes of Never, Forever, Alex Koehler’s lyrics delve into the Adrian Mole school of love poetry and struggle to find any deep meaning, and while Self Inflicted is often musically engaging, it’s also too one-dimensional. This is an album that would walk into a bar just to pick a fight with the biggest man in the room, but what it brings in violence it lacks in real substance.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.