Chelsea Grin is a deathcore band founded in 2008 out of Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the more popular deathcore bands to start out on Myspace, they managed to keep a strong fanbase well into the 2010s despite many musical and personnel changes.
Originally known as “Ahaziah,” the lineup was singer Alex Koehler, guitarists Chris Kilbourn and Michael Stafford, bassist Austin Marticorena, and drummer Andrew Carlston. They quickly changed their name to Chelsea Grin and released a self-titled EP. It got passed around on Myspace to a warm reception and the band started working on their first full length, Desolation of Eden. Before Desolation of Eden dropped, Chris Kilbourn would leave the band and would be replaced by Dan Jones and Jake Harmond and Austin Marticorena would be replaced by David Flinn on bass. Desolation of Eden was well received and put the band on the map, and hit the road as much as they could. They would follow up Eden with their second release, My Damnation, in 2011. In 2012, Pablo Viveros would become Chelsea Grin’s new drummer. Michael Stafford also left the group and Jason Richardson came in for guitars. Chelsea Grin would hit the studio again in 2013 to record their third album, Ashes to Ashes, which dropped in 2014. As predicted, more tours ensued. Jason Richardson would part ways with the group and Stephen Rutishaur would be his replacement. Chelsea Grin left Artery for Rise Records, and hit the studio for their fourth album, Self Inflicted, released in 2016.
Despite Chelsea Grin’s consistency in releasing albums and touring, 2017 and 2018 ended up being the biggest changes for the band. Jake Harmond left the band due to family issues, and Dan Jones left the band to pursue a medical career, leaving Chelsea Grin with only one guitarist. The biggest change, however, was band founder Alex Koehler leaving the band due to declining mental health and his alcohol issues. Tom Barber came in to help track the band’s fifth album, Eternal Nightmare, in 2018. Eternal Nightmare released to a very positive reception and gave Chelsea Grin a massive boost in popularity. As of 2020 the band is still together, but each member is doing their own thing and will hit the road and the studio when they can.
- Tom Barber - vocals (2018-present)
- Pablo Viveros - drums, vocals (2012-present)
- Stephen Rutishaur - guitars (2015-present, live member 2014-2015)
- David Flinn - bass (2009-present)
Notable past members:
- Alex Koehler - vocals (2007-2017, founding member)
- Dan Jones - guitars (2009-2017)
- Jason Richardson - guitars, programming (2012-2015)
- Chelsea Grin (2008, EP)
- Desolation of Eden (2010)
- My Damnation (2011)
- Evolve (2012, EP)
- Ashes to Ashes (2014)
- Self Inflicted (2016)
- Eternal Nightmare (2018)
- Suffer in Hell (2022)
- Suffer in Heaven (2023)
I’LL DIG A BIG, GRAVE, FOR ME AND MY TROPES!
- The Alcoholic: The nomadic tour life of Chelsea Grin didn’t help Alex Koehler, who found himself deep in the bottle. His inability to get his drinking under control was a major reason for him leaving the band.
- Ascended Extra: Stephen Rutishaur went from being their merch guy, to being a live session member, to being a full member, and finally to being their main songwriter and the primary guiding force in the band following Pablo's live hiatus.
- Author Appeal: The concepts of Heaven and Hell were this for Alex.
- Barbarian Longhair: Tom Barber, he keeps it in a bun when off stage.
- Concept Album: My Damnation is about Heaven and Hell, more specifically about a tyrant going to Hell and trying to find forgiveness to go to Heaven. Self Inflicted is loosely about internet culture and the negatives that come with it.
- Cluster F-Bomb
- Deathcore: One of the few bands from the MySpace era who kept a sizable fanbase after the end of that era and stayed mostly deathcore. Despite venturing from that direction on Ashes to Ashes and Self-Inflicted, they went right back to that MySpace sound with Eternal Nightmare (albeit with a distinct nu-metal edge). Even with all of the styles they’ve added in their music over the years, all of their material can comfortably fit under the deathcore banner.
- Djent: Picked this up during Ashes to Ashes.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for “Recreant.”
- Emo Teen: Had this appeal during their early days. As emo fell out of fashion they shed this style.
- I Am the Band: Alex was this for the longest time before he left. Pablo and Stephen are more or less the band leaders now.
- In Name Only: As of 2018 there are no founding members left in Chelsea Grin. David Flinn is the longest running member, joining in 2009.
- Lead Drummer: Pablo Viveros is arguably Chelsea Grin’s most notable member outside of Tom, and he is known for contributing vocals.
- Lighter and Softer: The stretch from My Damnation to Self-Inflicted is noticeably lighter in heaviness compared to Desolation of Eden thanks to the metalcore and symphonic elements. It’s relative at the end of the day, as the music is still really heavy.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Alex Koehler was a good looking dude◊ in the band's early days, even if his looks came with the emo tag. Alas, he’s been keeping his hair short in recent years, usually with a snapback for good measure.
- Metal Scream: Alex was known for his shrill highs and could do some deep lows early on. Tom mainly sticks with mids and lows. Pablo strictly uses mid-ranged shouts.
- Metalcore: Mostly on Ashes to Ashes and Self Inflicted. They largely dropped this on Eternal Nightmare.
- Misogyny Song: The band didn’t have fond opinions of the women in their lives early on, “Crewcabanger” being a good example. Thankfully they would abandon this lyrical theme on subsequent releases.
- New Sound Album: Quite a few:
- My Damnation adds in Black Metal and Symphonic Metal elements.
- Ashes to Ashes lightens up a bit with more metalcore and djent influences. Pablo contributes clean vocals on a few tracks.
- Self Inflicted turns down the black and symphonic elements for more djent chugs, and Alex’s cleans get more shine here.
- Eternal Nightmare goes straight back into deathcore with the nu-metal and djent elements they picked up with previous releases. It’s also their first release with only one guitarist.
- Nu Metal: Been an influence on Chelsea Grin (as with many deathcore acts), Self Inflicted and Eternal Nightmare show the band incorporating this in their music (usually as bounce riffs).
- Precision F-Strike: “STEP THE FUCK BACK” from "Recreant". Not the only example.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: “YOU, ARE, DEAD, TO, ME!” also from "Recreant", and again far from the only example.
- Revolving Door Band: Had this issue early on, thanks to the band not being financially stable. Alex was the most consistent member until he left in 2018.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Alex was known for his extremely shrill, screechy highs. Subverted with Tom, whose highs are lower and more hoarse.
- Special Guest: Phil Bozeman and Nate Johnson have had features on studio releases. Adam Warren also filled in live when Alex injured himself on tour and couldn’t perform. They’ve also had their albums produced by Tim Lambesis and Diego Farias.
- The song "Forever Bloom" features Trevor Strnad. Notable is that it released after Trevor's tragic passing, potentially making it some of the last (if not the last) material he worked on.
- Start My Own: Alex started Grudges after leaving Chelsea Grin which sounds like a continuation of Self-Inflicted. Tom also has Darko, a project started with Josh Miller. Subverted in the fact that both Chelsea Grin and Emmure are both active, but both guys had the time to start a side project for fun while both bands aren’t touring.
- The Stoner: Fuck yes, it’s almost like a requirement to be in the band. They got a bit of attention online at Warped Tour for having a weed donation box at their merch booth. If there’s any doubts about their stoner tendencies, watch either of their bus tours from Virtual Bus Tour.
- Vocal Evolution: Poor technique and constant partying didn’t help Alex’s vocals. He lightened his lows from My Damnation onwards, but could still hit highs.
- Vocal Tag Team: Mostly on Ashes to Ashes, thanks to Pablo's husky singing. “Clockwork” is a good example of Alex and Pablo playing off each other.
- We Used to Be Friends: Subverted with Alex. He did lash out at Pablo and Stephen on Twitter, but was due to Alex being in rehab. All parties are content to bury the hatchet and do their own thing. Also subverted with Tom and Lorna Shore. While Adam and Austin were not happy with how Tom left the band, ultimately they let bygones be bygones as both Lorna Shore and Chelsea Grin are doing better than ever.