Whenever a parent -- or, for that matter, any type of authority figure over the age of 40 -- asks a teenager or very young adult, "How, in God's name, can you listen to that stuff?," those words don't act as a deterrent. In fact, the opposite is true. The minute an 18-year-old hears someone over 40 railing against "that awful music" (whatever "that awful music" might be), he/she is likely to crave it even more. Deathcore -- the type of noisy, caustic, abrasive mixture of metalcore and death metal that Chelsea Grin offer on their first full-length album, Desolation of Eden -- is bound to annoy a lot of parents, which is exactly the point. If relentlessly ferocious albums like Desolation of Eden had a lot of mainstream appeal, that would be a major turnoff for deathcore's cult followers. But the chances of this 35-minute disc enjoying mainstream exposure are slim and none. Desolation of Eden is an exercise in harshness for the sake of harshness, and it's a decent listen if one has a taste for nonstop sensory assault. This 2009 recording isn't about musicality; it's about over the top exhilaration, and Chelsea Grin achieve that with extreme vocals (which include both deep, guttural Cookie Monster growling and high-pitching shrieking), extreme dissonance, extreme density, and an abundance of jarring tempo changes. Desolation of Eden is as technical as it is unforgiving; Chelsea Grin fancy the technical side of metalcore and death metal, and they take pleasure in battering, stomping, and pummeling the listener's senses as much as possible. Obviously, albums this vicious aren't for everyone, but those who do appreciate highly technical deathcore will find Desolation of Eden to be a likable (if less than stellar) contribution to metal's lunatic fringe.
Review by Alex Henderson