Chelsea Grin – Ashes to Ashes: Masterlord SteelDragon’s Decree

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Upon finding a suitably steamy batch of manure (preferably fresh from the bowels of an herbivore), the dung beetle will fashion it into a ball and roll it forward in a straight line over any and all obstacles. I recently watched a video in which a number of rather ambitious dung beetles pushed their respective fecal orbs up a small sand hill. Mysteriously, only one was able to conquer the dune, and it arrived at the peak swelling with pride in its feculent creation. With shining carapace it looked down at its beetle brothers – all pushing identical dung balls, but for some reason failing to clamber to the top.

Chelsea Grin is the ascended dung beetle. Apparently hailing from a magical land in Utah where guitars have only one string, they have somehow emerged from the droves of indistinguishable deathcore acts to relative popularity, likely with the aid of some unnamable cosmic force bent on the rape of Our Beloved Lady Metal and the theft of Her purity. Their latest album, Ashes to Ashes, offers you nothing more than what you’d expect: a cringe-worthy hour of brainless/shameless chuggery so disgraceful that my wife (Her Majesty Mrs. SteelDragon) pleaded with me to change her Spotify account to “private” before playing it.

Even when the music is listenable I consider a 58-minute runtime to be excessive if not self-indulgent. Here it’s actually offensive. Chelsea and the Grins are determined to cram Ashes to Ashes‘ unfortunate duration to the brim with hackneyed breakdown after hackneyed breakdown, likely pandering to the base instincts of their deeply confused demographic. To their credit, they cater to their fans: teenage girls will have something to scare their parents with and many invisible ninjas will fall to the squishy fists of sweaty life-duds in the moshpit. For those of us with more than a single brain cell, however, there isn’t much to enjoy here.

Each throwaway riff serves as little more than a brief separator – a necessary nuisance to get out of the way before they can move on to the next breakdown. And they make no secret of their eagerness to do so, as most of their life-spans are pathetically short. The only remotely headbangable groove in the entire album, found at the beginning of “Pledge Allegience,” survives for five whole seconds before being snuffed out by the dreaded chugmachine.

The fact that this music is undeniably witless does not necessarily mean that these boys can’t play their instruments. There is, arguably, some degree of technicality on display here. However, the sweep-picked arpeggios so haphazardly included come across as a hamfisted attempt to prove something, as if to remind the listener that they can use the high strings, but prefer not to. These occasional, quasi-technical passages are aimless and spring up completely devoid of context, reflecting the skill of the guitarist much less than a fundamental inability to compose.

Alex Koehler contributes his “talent” in the form of generic deathcore vocals and evidently uses poems he stole from the diary of a neglected 7th-grader as his lyrics. Most of it is just the same tough-guy dross that dullards like him have been regurgitating since the early 2000’s. Look no further than “Playing with Fire” for Pulitzer Prize-worthy literature such as “Burn. Burn. Burn, burn, burn. Let’s burn this bastard to the ground.”

What’s worse still is the band’s occasional self-important attempt to transcend what their genre is by definition (i.e., moshbait). They aim for uplifting and meaningful but land flat on their faces somewhere between trite and embarrassing. It’s difficult to elicit any emotional response beyond uncontrollable laughter when your lyrics have the subtlety of a freight train but the impact of a wet fart. “Dust to Dust…” showcases Alex’s sensitive side with such self-aware lyrics as: “I stare from my window looking outside. Sometimes I wanna just die.” “Letters” repeats this four-part cliché at least two million times: “We won’t be pushed or shoved. We won’t give up on love. It’s time to take a stand. And take life by the hand.” Truly fucking painful. I’m left astounded that there are six people on Planet Earth that passed off on these lyrics, or anything else on this Crom-forsaken album.

It could be that Chelsea Grin doesn’t know any better. To the dung beetle, the dung ball is everything. It is its food source and its brooding chamber. It knows nothing beyond it. And so it is reasonable that the dung beetle stands atop the hill with such high regard – proud of its product, proud of what it has accomplished. At the end of the day, however, it’s still just spherical shit.

4.5 / 5 FLUSHES – TO THE LOO WITH YOU

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes is out now on Artery Recordings, but for the love of God don’t purchase it.

  • Having never heard Chelsea Grin, I thought it would be funny to do a counter-review of this but then I listened to the first track and realized there were 14 more tracks and I took a nap instead.

    • Sight Vnseen

      This was my first exposure to them too. Ouch.

      • SO MANY CATS

        • Mr. Bozflusher

          never

        • Sight Vnseen

          Everyone loves a kitten.

          Nice article too.

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          marlon brando’s review……………

  • W.

    Sweet analogy, MasterBro!

  • George Lynch

    I cannot believe Richardson can stand to play that shit. I honestly thought when he was in BOO that his chops were great.

    GL

    • Steve Smithwick

      They were, and BOO is suffering a little without him. Tomorrow We Die Alive wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t as good as The Discovery.

      • Between The Buried & Smee

        Jason Richardson is a very good guitarist, but also an asshole. He came out saying that Born of Osiris will never try making anything else as good as The Discovery. Even though their newest album wasn’t great, what he’s saying is still bullshit.

        • The Black Dahlia Burger

          I don’t think he’s wrong though, The Discovery will definitely be their peak.

          • Between The Buried & Smee

            Thats easily the best album they’ve done, but A Higher Place was enough to show they can write a good album before Richardson even joined.

    • PartySmasher

      Terrible career move on his behalf.

      • The Black Dahlia Burger

        Well if Facebook likes are any indicator, Chelsea Grin is twice as popular as BoO. So for him personally, i’d say it was a good move.

        • PartySmasher

          Hmm, I didn’t realize they were that popular, then again, I haven paid attention to either of those bands in years, the last time I even thought about Born of Osiris was when I saw them in like 2009 with Cannibal Corpse.

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            Did you not listen to The Discovery?

          • PartySmasher

            I did not, I lost interest in them.

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            Awww shit mang, they came out of nowhere with some ridiculous technicality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0VBaye65sc

    • The Black Dahlia Burger

      The Discovery is mind-blowingly amazing and I don’t care if anyone agrees with me or not

      • i agree with you. i’ve heard some of their other music and it is flushable. The Discovery is a diamond in the rough.

        • The Black Dahlia Burger

          Did you just recently hear it?

          • no, i just saw your post!

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            I’m going to see BoO with Thy Art is Murder in November, can’t waiittttt

  • W.

    Maybe you should have just left this flusher where it was, MasterLord.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NZLaiMhK7-8/TgEKkh4pcYI/AAAAAAAAABo/w2bAkehtxzk/s1600/The_Room_toilet.jpg

    • I have this insatiable urge to flush.

      • George Lynch

        So did RA666 come up with the flushing?? Like in the very beginning?

        If so, I feel as though we need a column just for him. I mean, he has to be the most well known troll in the metal community right? He deserves a little bit of credit if this whole ruse of “flushing” evolved from him, right?

        What is your take?

        GL

        • FLUSH THIS POSER BAND TO HELL, ONLY AXL ENJOYS THIS SHIT

          FLUSHING YOUR STRINGS JUSTICE IS DONE

          • webb71

            Riotact666 is that you?

          • I’d wish I was half the genius that beast-man is

          • webb71

            You either aren’t him or you are using a clever strategy to promote yourself lol.

        • I just want him to come home.

          • W.

            I’m pretty sure he is here, as of 2 minutes ago 😉

          • George Lynch

            But seriously guys….. Any thoughts?

            GL

          • The lore I have been told is that, yes, RA invented flushed way back in the Blabbermouth days. I would be honored to give him a column if he would like to write for ToH.

          • George Lynch

            Can you write an article, calling for that invitation? There is no way in hell he could turn it down! HE IS A LEGEND!!!!!

            Christ, he should start selling shirts or something!

            GL

          • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

            Great idea.

          • Quarter Ounce Harrell

            The shit you see there you can never unsee.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            i have also heard the rumor that sadisticexecution introduced it. Then again there is rumours that there has been multiple riotact’s like the legend of the multiple ultimate warrior’s.

          • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

            o rly?

          • W.

            Yah. I suspect that certain revered metal veteran is secretly RiotAct.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      *flush*

    • oh gawd, i just saw this. that’s one game i couldn’t play alone.

    • This is the thing that bothers me most; the audacity of it. WHO WANTS TO LISTEN TO THIS FOR AN HOUR.

      • Don’t stifle their creative voice. Thought Crime!

        I think I’m just as offended that they couldn’t shit out 2 more minutes to make it a full hour.

    • Steve Smithwick

      +1 for the wrap it up box reference, well done.

  • Finally got this in my RSS feed so I’ll try to be a little more active most days. (And by active I mean I’ll be in here pissing and moaning like a bald-headed forty year old prick pining for the good old days and also complaining about the Loudness War.)

  • Has anyone noticed the different screaming vocals of good bands and shit bands? Bands like this make the vocal part sound whiny, is this intended?

    • W.

      It is if you’re Periphery.

      • Steve Smithwick

        Dude, you’re ripping on my homeboy Misha a second time today, W. Things are gonna get brutal in here!

        • W.

          Fight me IRL. 3:00 at the dumpster out back.

          • Steve Smithwick

            Bro, just tell me when to fly in- 3:00 is too soon!. That pussy HelmuthTheElder never told me when I should come to beat his ass in Manhattan.

          • MISHA IS LAME
            I GOT YOUR BACK, PRESIDENT BUSH.

          • Steve Smithwick

            NOW I HAVE TO FIGHT TWO PEOPLE, GOD DAMMIT.

            YOUR REVIEW WAS GREAT, BUT NOW YOU’VE SLANDERED A GUITAR DEITY. YOU’RE NEXT TO BE FLUSHED!

          • Metaphysical Anus

  • Metaphysical Anus

    58 minutes? That’s not even long mate. But flush this turd down.

  • Mr. Bojangles

    This band is horrific. I will leave my cat hair all over their band van.

  • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

    holy poop chutes this is more horrific than a row of summer festival porto’s

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      what de fuck is dis chit mang, they won’t have no grin when i knock their blocks off with the razors edge chico, we don listen to chit music in cuba mang.

  • Mr. Bojangles

    “Chelsea and the Grins” — literally lost my shit.

    • W.

      It’s probably in the litter box, Mittens.

      • Mr. Bojangles

        Mittens is dead. How dare you.

    • Mr. Bozflusher

      comedy gold

  • webb71

    Axl’s new favorite band

  • Chino’s shoe

    *COMBO FLUSH*

  • Mr. Bozflusher

    Is there enough room on my toilet? try me

  • CyberneticOrganism

    ALL HAIL THE FLUSH RATING SYSTEM M/

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    Vince Neilstein rolls out the latest “news” piece for MetalSucks…

    http://fightforrhinos.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/dun-beetle-2.gif

    • Look how cute it is.

      • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

        Thought I saw something like that when I was last over there….

  • Cock of Steele

    Fulsh these posers! and the Pull a Keith Moon so that they may never return to the realm of good taste!

  • Steve Smithwick

    Even though you said mean things about my dog Misha, this review is great and a fine piece of writing. So part of me offers respect! The other part is flying out to your home to fight you once I finish the job the Hawk started on W.

  • PartySmasher

    While I was never a fan (they’re “high” vocals irritate me), their first album was similar to White Chapel’s as it was pretty heavy, fairly generic deathcore with death metal inspired lyrics, if I recall correctly at least, but it seems they’ve gone the way of Bring Me The Horizon trying to appeal to that Hot Topic jail bait.

    • Deputy Dipshit

      Hot Topic Jailbait; you mean babymetal?

      • PartySmasher

        I like Babymetal *hangs head in shame*

        • Deputy Dipshit

          Why don’t you have a seat over here…

          • PartySmasher

            The lube in the bag was to help fix their, ugh, bike, yeah their bike, I swears.

          • Metaphysical Anus

            Do you have anything else to say? We have these comments that you posted on the chat and the pictures of you naked.

          • PartySmasher

            hmm?

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          i love taylor momsen ( i don’t say pretty reckless) so have no shame comrade. She stayed over last time she was in town. Don’t try and get details out of me, we’ll just say i slipped something into in her ( after i slipped something into her drink first) Damn, this could be my third strike. Is anyone on the board a lawyer that will work pro bono for a fellow metalhead ?

          • PartySmasher

            I’ve heard good things about this chap. Gnarly Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer poster btw.

          • PartySmasher

            I tried posting a picture of the lawyer from Seinfeld but I guess it didn’t go through, I’m using the mobile site so it’s probably a hiccup.

          • I think there might be a mixup with the pic posted in the previous comment. I’m gonna delete it.

          • Between The Buried & Smee

            Dat Goblin poster…

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            I once watched argento’s suspiria every night for 3 months. As a second feature i would switch between deep red, inferno, tenebre, and all the rest of his cinematic triumphs.

    • Between The Buried & Smee

      BMTH > Chelsea Grin. Bring Me The Horizon made a pretty decent electronic metalcore album, while Chelsea Grin hasn’t really done that original of an album ever.

      • The Black Dahlia Burger

        Do you mean Sempiternal or There is a Hell?

        • Between The Buried & Smee

          Sempiternal. There is a Hell started it, but Sempiternal was really the one to make them equal parts -core and electronic.

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            Gotcha. I think Sempiternal is fantastic.

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    “Feculent Creation” hilarious. loved reading the dislike in the article. The article (not the disc!) gets 0/10 flushes.

  • Fromwisdomtohate29

    Yup, definitely some flush worthy material.

  • Perpetual Wincest

    “””””

    I have a quick question to ask?

    First off, I’d like to say that I’m a massive fan of what you’re doing over here, everything’s been really well handled and I’m already enjoying it over a certain other website…

    But if I had one complaint… And I do, (though it’s not really a complaint, more just something I’m a little confused about), it would be that, back on Metalsucks, whenever Axl posted about Emmure or whatever, there would be a ton of people writing stuff like ‘No one cares about this band,’ or ‘If you don’t like this band, then why are you posting about them?’ and stuff like that. But then on this article, where the author trashes this band, everyone in the comments applauds him/her for it.

    And that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the article, it was well written and quite humorous, but I guess I’m just a little confused by this apparent double standard that I kinda noticed here.

    So why is this so? Is it because this article is, admittedly, quite a lot funnier than a lot, hell, just about all, of the stuff on Metalsucks, or is it just some sort of bias against Axl, of something else?

    Again, I’d really like to stress that I’m not trying to attack this article or this site (Because I enjoy both quite a lot and am looking forward to more from everyone putting work into this website), I’m just curious.

    Thanks for allowing me to waste your time in having you read this and also thanks for any responses that can help me out.

    (Side note, I think a new Sleep song came out recently-ish and I’m not sure if it’s been posted about yet

    • You bring up a really good point. I really liked Mastlord’s writing on this one so I thought it would be funny to post. I do agree that shitting on a bands is pretty low and it’s not something I would like us to make a habit of.

      • Perpetual Wincest

        I wasn’t trying to say that shitting on the band is low, I do enjoy articles like these, and I don’t think that the band would really care (I think that they’re actually pretty big, but I don’t know because I’ve never payed much attention to them, but if they are then yeah I don’t think they’ll really care what some people on a website say about them).

        I’m not saying that there was anything wrong with the article, (because there wasn’t, it was actually really good!) I’m just saying that the ‘If you don’t care about this band, why are you posting about them?’ complaint was always used on Axl but not here, which just interested me. But maybe that was a different group of people who used metalsucks, (as in like guys like ‘bob’ and stuff) who complained about that stuff, and not the people who are now using this site.

        Speaking of people who do/don’t use this site, where’s King Shit?

        • KSoFM is around! I think he’s a busy dude so he’s in and out.

          I appreciate your comment about this. My primary complaint with MS is that it seems that a majority of their content exists simply to talk shit for page clicks. I’d prefer not to do that unless (A) it’s funny and (B) it’s not something we do all the time.

          • Perpetual Wincest

            Yeah that’s totally fair. And there’s nothing about the title of this review that’s clickbait-ey or anything like that.

            It’s also really awesome that you’re willing to read to take the time and read comments like this and actually take notice of what people think and what people want to hear and see. If Metalsucks had ever done that, I’d probably still be reading it.

            Thanks for the responses.

          • Thank you for reading! We are a baby blog. We have a lot of growing to do and I want to make sure we do it the right way: by making this a place that our readers want to be.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            i think its quite simple what is happening, i may be wrong but basically everyone who migrated here to a large extent had friendly interactions with each other. You and i barely had more than 3 interactions but i respected your comments and you are well liked enough to have a sizeable amount of people move to this site. The writers here are also people we know. I think the key word is respect for each other. I am sure there will be some differing opinions. In my case the article on hardcore music is one i avoided because my thoughts on it are already known, so why go in and rain on everyone else’s parade.

          • I agree with you, Conan. Everyone here seems to realize the person they’re talking to is an actual person and that makes a huge difference.

          • W.

            I think the difference here is that this is a review (which are typically seen as legitimate posts) versus some whiny, unimportant piece. I think we intend to post a lot of reviews, and not all of them will be good.

          • Perpetual Wincest

            Yeah that’s cool, I can still remember that one mushroomhead ‘interview’ where it was just that gif of one of the members shaking their head.

            Man that was a shitty site.

      • Between The Buried & Smee

        You should get someone to do (honest) positive reviews of bands generally considered awful.

        • The Black Dahlia Burger

          I honestly like Ashes to Ashes, at least like half of it

          • Between The Buried & Smee

            I agree, it the first Chelsea Grin release that I’ve liked. I actually dig a bunch of deathcore bands. I think it can sound very good as a genre, just there are some not as good bands in the genre getting popular.

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            I think deathcore can be good too, but I don’t like that many bands (Whitechapel, Thy Art, Veil of Maya, CG to name a few). On Ashes to Ashes though, Morte Aeterna is probably my favorite

          • Between The Buried & Smee

            That song was great. My favorite song on that album may have been Illuminate. Also, do you like Carnifex? They’ve been growing on my recently.

          • The Black Dahlia Burger

            I was never big into them but their new album is pretty great. Heavy as fuck too.

    • Guest

      Sorry I’m a bit late on this, I haven’t checked these comments for a few days. I think @disqus_kqxyUNPxty:disqus and @joethrashnkill:disqus hit the nail on the head here. These days there’s a lot of metal coming out at such a consistent pace that it’s really hard to keep up with. A review, to me, is a good way to help you narrow down what you want to spend your limited time on. Personally, I appreciate when a reviewer will let me know what I should check out (by writing a favorable review) *and* what I probably shouldn’t waste my time on (by writing an unfavorable review). To my knowledge, the “if you don’t like this band, then why are you posting about them?” argument was typically a response to MS’s incessant and purposeless writing about certain bands for the sole purpose of talking shit, and that is not at all what I intended here. Thanks for your input @disqus_GhdUBrFiKO:disqus – as Masterlord, I’m only ALMOST perfect so there’s a little wiggle room for improvement which I hesitantly acknowledge. We love you!

      • Don’t know why this showed up as Guest. THIS WAS ME.

        • Perpetual Wincest

          Wow just saw this comment. Ignore the last part of my other post then.

      • Perpetual Wincest

        No totally man, I got that now. My post wasn’t meant to criticise, more just ask a question, of which you have now provided an answer. Great article by the way, well done! (If you are Masterlord, you’re coming up as guest on my iPad.

  • Poop Mango

    I was listening to some amp sim demos last night and actually found myself enjoying a deathcore band. How ashamed of myself should I be on a scale of 1 to ∞???

  • Stockhausen

    lolbuttz