Sound — 8
It's amazing the type of progression some bands can make. Chelsea Grin most certainly prove this with their newest offering, "My Damnation". The previous release, "Desolation Of Eden", was basically deathcore by the books: tremollo picking, breakdowns, blast beats, driving bass, the works. However, amongst the oversaturation of the genre at the time, "Desolation" was just another above average deathcore album. "My Damnation" takes the best elements of their first effort, and expands on them. The breakdowns are still here, of course, and still as blisteringly heavy, but there's more fret board exploration this time around. More leads, and some pretty good solos (see "My Damnation", and the amazing fretwork in "Calling In Silence") make the album sound more thought out than their first. Some tracks fall a bit short musically, such as the over breakdown saturated "Cursed" and "Everlasting Sleep", but a true surprise kicks in with the track "Kharon". No drums, no vocals, only somber, acoustic guitars leading into the bludgeoningly amazing title track. This kind of pacing, if used more on this album, would have made for a far better listen. The material is good, but more exploration would be definately welcome in the future.
Lyrics — 7
Vocals are miles better this time. The highs are piercing and tormented, the growls are lower, and alltogether sound better produced and better executed. The new tone drives the violence and pain within the lyrics well, and definately sets the mood. Lyrically, this is pretty standard for deathcore. Relatively well written, centering on themes of torment, murder, death, and of course, damnation. Lyric samples incude: "Look into my eyes and decide if I'm a human being My soul was ripped from me." - "My Damnation" "Why must I feel empty? Will I ever feel again? I have given everything I am." - "Oblivion" "The horsemen set to make their ride The planet, too, will slowly die Now kneel before your sire All hail the fallen king." - "The Fallen King" (feat. Phil from Whitechapel).
Overall Impression — 8
"My Damnation" may not break too much ground in a genre already crowded with plenty of simmilar bands, but it's a pretty great ride for those who enjoy this scene. Equal parts brutal, emotional, and energetic, the album has a habbit of getting under my skin and not wanting to let go. Most certainly won't convert any deathcore haters, but most certainly delivers on every aspect that Chelsea Grin fans crave. For fans of: Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Impending Doom.