If you've ever dabbled in deathcore then you have most likely run into the powerhouse of the genre from Salt Lake City, Utah that is Chelsea Grin. With their first two releases, the self-titled EP and Desolation of Eden, Chelsea Grin made a name for themselves and have blown up big time. On their junior release it was obvious that this band strove to do something different among the numerous other bands that perform in genre. With the release of the Evolve EP Chelsea Grin shows no signs of getting off of that path.
What Chelsea Grin remains constant in are the heavy riffs and breakdowns that anyone who listens to metal should be comfortable with. The nonstop chugging is accompanied by vocals that sound similar to their Desolation of Eden days. Anyone who was disappointed by the vocals from their last release should enjoy these a lot more. While those are the things that they have stayed true to throughout their career, they have also done more than a few things differently with Evolve.
I'll start off with the elephant in the room, a.k.a the clean vocals. Fans were worried about this since the single "Lilith" was released with horrid clean vocals. Some enjoyed them but many others did not. There are only two tracks on this five track EP that feature the clean vocals so it isn't too bad and I was astounded by the final track "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The clean vocals with layered screaming actually sounded decent compared to its counterpart "Lilith".
As many of you know the guitarist Jason Richardson was let go from his duties with the progressive deathcore outfit of Born of Osiris and later joined forces with Chelsea Grin. His appearance and influence on Evolve are very distinct starting with the opening track "The Second Coming". There are many parts in that song and the songs that follow that sound strikingly similar to Born of Osiris. Even though the riffs themselves are amazing, they just don't fit well with Chelsea Grin.
Chelsea Grin is doing their own thing and I give them commendations for that but some of the stuff they would be better off not using. The vocals are and always have been spectacular but songs like "Lilith" could be much more if they dropped the cleans. The complex sweeps from Jason Richardson don't have to be thrown in wherever he feels like it either. However, no two songs on Evolve even sound remotely similar and that's one of the best things a band can do. I hope that Chelsea Grin can figure out what sound they are going for soon before they get caught up in their own web.