Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chelsea Grin – Desolation of Eden (2010)

Anna Shkuratova

I am going to dedicate my review to the band whose name was hardly known back in 2010 when they released their first LP.

As the true followers of the genre Deathcore, Chelsea Grin made a huge investment in the history of metal music (especially in this particular genre Deathcore), by releasing the LP Desolation of Eden in February 16th, 2010.
The year 2010 was notorious for CG for many reasons (release of the first LP, big tour with famous bands (Dr. Acula, Attila, major incomings, more than 1000 sold copies in the first week). Two main of them are new big LP and vocalist Alex Koehler’s jaw trauma, which, as many fans point out, started the Dark Age of Chelsea Grin’s vocals (but this is another story).

Let’s start with the most obvious fact – the album Desolation of Eden is unique, CG-unique, not generally (because the history knows such bands as Despised Icon, Whitechapel, All Shall Perish etc.). For the band like CG (I mean small and not even US-wide known, back in 2009), it was a musical boom.

Let’s take a closer look at the album itself.

Judgement is a good beginning, which gives us an introductory hint. The words This is your last judgement. Time to pay the final price try to scare the listener away, but we do not really recognize the words through the vocal style. The first minute of guitar “deep” riffs clears the path for greater expectations.
If anyone would ask me what would I put as an introduction to this work, I would answer Elysium. 7th song is the instrumental part, lyrical even. There is a proof that such songs were being put and keep being put at the beginning of an album with the message “Listen to the instrumental and prepare yourself for the rest”. The fans call such songs “Good songs of evil men”.
I collected some of these and put into this playlist: 

I have to say Elysium is more hardcore (not by the definition of the genre, but as usual slang adjective) than many songs collected in this playlist, but nevertheless it is a good song of evil men which I think should be put first.

Desolation of Eden opens up as a fast and aggressive, so the listener does not quite understands what is going on. In the opening piece we are witnessing usual for this band method – the sequence of two different vocal styles: scream and guttural. The stylistic changes and guitars/drum solo make it compelling to listen to and
show the range of creativity. Personally, I appreciate linking moments performed by guitars, drums or both.
Many parts, which are not as fast as the introductory one, feel way too slow. But if we want our experience to be positive we may think of it as a good part of the song because the listener may tire of the permanent rapidity and intensity.

False Sense of Sanity again shows already common patterns (fast changing of tempos, guitarists’ and drummer’s solo, vocal range). The two vocal styles which sound one right after another create the feeling like the voices in a person’s head are speaking at the same time. But classical “good” and “bad” scheme does not work here. These are two ways of interpretation: a) the inner voices are creating the illusion that something bad happened (Looking in the mirror you begin to contemplate your sanity, last night’s horrors were far too much for you to take) or b) they are trying to explain or to make the person realise that something bad happened (You cry out in terror, corpses all around, but you can't remember a thing. Who caused this crime?).

Sonnet of the Wretched has everything the genre needs it to have: an intro, different vocal styles, “low guitars”, memorable drum parts, epic “doom is coming” lyrics. It is the peak of this release.
I hope the band realised it too when they decided to make a video for this song.

Cheyne Stokes, the re-make of the first EP’s song, has this album’s motive, so when we listen to the 5th song, we are pretty sure that we are listening to CG’s new release.
I am glad the band decided to re-make it. Not because it was a highlight of the previous EP, but because everything about previous EP leaves the feeling of genre chaos which you cannot get rid of. So when this song is re-made in the new, Desolation of Eden-ish, way, it gives hope that band members want to improve their style and already doing it.
This song’s beginning hardly resembles those of next songs (drum and guitar solos).
Do not get tricked by the name of the song which relates to an abnormal pattern of breathing. The song has nothing to do with this abnormality.

The Human Condition opens up with a great collaboration of guitar riffs and drums. The tempo of this song changes, as from very fast to normal fast (not like in Desolation of Eden and False Sense of Humanity). Fast and normal parts have different kind of vocals, as obvious. I would name it as one of the best songs of this album.
I like the moral of this song: there is a big teaching part – do not believe everything others say, speak for yourself (and never give that right away), do not be afraid to open up your mind. Especially influencing sounds screamed out line: Don't just say the things you're suppose to say speak for yourself and never give that right away.
It is interesting how such useful and teaching motives are covered in (we can name it that) scary form of the genre. But at the same time this vocal is far from scary.

Recreant is another great song of the album. It also opens with the collaboration of guitars and drums. The sequence of vocal styles is fascinating – highlight of this album and the group. The vocal parts are in a harmony with instruments, giving the latter the space for mini-solos.
The lyrics are built by two blocks: first one repeats in the beginning and the end, the second one is placed in the middle.

Cast from Perfection does not follow the pattern of openings featuring guitars and drums. The beginning of this song is more pressing or even aggressive (like in Desolation of Eden). This effect is emphasized by the opening lyrics: someone is asking (even blaming) another one Who are you to decide what the meaning of perfection is and what makes you so high and mighty? The manner and topic, together create a great influencing the listener effect.
Moralistic aspect of the song – think for yourself, do not mind other people’ business, be in charge of your own life not everyone else’s.

Revenant’s opening reminds of scary methods of horror movies – sudden scream out of nowhere I’m in your head. As long as
This song, as many songs in this album, has very memorable pattern – performed by different vocal styles repeated line I have your soul you will perish. If Revenant would be the last song, that part would be an impressive ending for Desolation of Eden.

Wasteland is the last song of the album and also instrumental. Two instrumental songs in one album is not very a very common tradition, but it does not make any of them unsuitable.
The song consists of two patterns which follow one another and are common for the whole album.

Some of my friends who wanted to listen to something “metal” but were scared of too much “metal” liked the album. I may say that this album is universal in some way because it is placed right in the middle of the metal musical culture.

Here is the whole album:

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