Chelsea Grin – Suffer In Hell
Released: November 11th 2022
Tom Barber // Vocals
Stephen Rutishauser// Guitars
David Flinn // Bass
Chelsea Grin’s 2018 release Eternal Nightmare was the start of a new chapter in the deathcore veteran’s career. Stripped down from a trio guitarists to just one – leaving only the more than capable Stephen Rutishauser – and addition of new frontman Tom Barber meant the slate was definitely cleaned for the now four piece. Fortunately, Eternal Nightmare was a killer record; crushing low-tuned riffs, heavy as hell tracks, complex playing with endless grabbing hooks and ear-worms.
Close to four and a half years between full lengths, Chelsea Grin have kept themselves busy. A couple of stand-alone singles dropped in 2020, and after a moment of silence, the band announced the forthcoming double LP, Suffer In Hell / Suffer In Heaven. With the first part due for a November debut, whilst it’s counterpart was etched in for March 2023. The decision to split the potentially-bulky album into two separate parts is an interesting one. With so much new music coming out this year, it’s (subjectively) wiser to serve up a snack sized effort rather than a full blown banquet.
On Suffer In Hell – the group’s sixth full length – Chelsea Grin have further pushed their sound into the darkly symphonic realm, with the quartet also embracing a lot of black metal – not blackened – elements to their sound. That, coupled with Tom Barber – appearing on his second Chelsea Grin record – pushing his huge vocal sphere to it’s limits. From croaking out narrative-style vocals to monstrous growls, there’s little extreme metal territory he doesn’t cover.
Opener ‘Origin of Sin’ packs some demented sounding chromatic orchestrations before being doubled by thunderous guitars. With a real cinematic edge, ‘Origin of Sin’ is a manic, energetic way to introduce fans to this double release. It was a wise choice for a single – in fact all three preview selections make for standout moments on Suffer In Hell. ‘Forever Bloom’ is a whip-cracking, blackened assault, with some fantastic guest vocals from the late great Trevor Strnad. ‘The Isnis’ is perhaps the LP’s most immediate cut. A big defined chorus kicks the number off, with powerful low grooves and dancing lead runs for days. A bonafide Chelsea Grin classic.
‘Crystal Casket’ features some inspired guitar work from Rutishauser, with huge riffing, screaming harmonics and pick-scrapes making the tune an obvious highlight. ‘Floodlungs’ mixes things up with ominous clean guitars, post-rock leads, with the song boasting an absolutely epic outro with a foot in both the melodic and cinematic. ‘Mourning Hymn’ contains touches of more melodic end black metal, certainly a nod to the likes of Cradle of Filth and Carnifex. It’s a great tune, again it’s different pace and style showing growth and evolution in Chelsea Grin’s sound.
Bassist – and longest tenured member – David Flinn is strongly represented with a low-end heavy mix, however there is a hell of a lot going on, and sometimes the intricate details can get a little muddled. The double LP’s title track, which serves as the closer for it’s first part, is essentially a punishing, massive breakdown across three different feels. It’s so mercilessly heavy that perhaps it should have preceded ‘Origin of Sin’ and opened the collection.
At eight songs and under half an hour long, Suffer In Hell is a short and snappy effort. With the musical companion Suffer In Heaven out in four months, it’s been a clever idea to separate this lengthy collection of music into two parts. Despite their lineup changes, Suffer In Hell shows Chelsea Grin are one of the best of the late 00’s deathcore boom-period still doing it. While some of their peers may have gone in a more melodic or nu-metal direction, or simply disbanded, Chelsea Grin are still out here releasing modern, flattening deathcore done right. It’s near-impossible to fault Suffer In Hell. If you are in any way intrigued by deathcore, the new Chelsea Grin – and it’s future partner release – should be on the top of your must-listen list. Bring on Suffer In Heaven.
Chelsea Grin – Suffer In Hell tracklisting
1. Origin of Sin
2. Forever Bloom (feat. Trevor Strnad)
3. Deathbed Companion
4. Crystal Casket
5. Flood Lungs
6. The Isnis
7. Mourning Hymn
8. Suffer In Hell, Suffer In Heaven
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