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Whitechapel “Whitechapel”

Whitechapel - WhitechapelI’ve slung my fair share of shit in deathcore’s direction, but there are a few bands in the genre that make its existence somewhat worthwhile.  Whitechapel, a six person riot that reigns from Knoxville, Tennessee, happens to be one of those bands.  Save for the drums, they’ve held a fairly consistent line-up since 2007, and the group has been churning out a steady stream of aural violence over these last five years.  This year’s release is no exception.

Whitechapel’s new album is every bit as punishing as what you’ve come to expect from the band.  The opening track, “Make It Bleed”, starts off with a melancholy piano measure that quickly turns into a death march that continues relentlessly, more or less, throughout the next nine tracks.  I particularly like the heavy snare use and modest guitar technique just before the one minute mark, as it is very familiar and welcomed territory for the band.  The next song (and also their first single from the record), “Hate Creation”, doesn’t do as much for me as the track prior, but they manage to garner my attention once again with the one that follows it, “(Cult)uralist”.  It is with this third track that I must interject with words of caution to the potential listener, as by this point, you’ll notice two things:  1) there is a heavy emphasis on the “core” aspect of the genre, likely because the band has a great track record with breakdowns that they’d like to continue, and 2) the lyrics are fairly mediocre.  For example:

I won’t be the one to fall.
I will kill you all.
I won’t be the one to fall.
I will kill you all.

Phil Bozeman certainly isn’t looking for literary acclaim, but despite that, his writing has come a very long way since The Somatic Defilement.  Then again, if you listen to Whitechapel for the lyrics, you are clearly doing it wrong.  It isn’t until we’re four songs deep that I really start to warm up to Whitechapel and credit it as a promising album, however.  My favorite track on the album, “I, Dementia”, is a rock-solid deathcore song, and one of the reasons that I keep faith in this band, and even the genre as a whole.  The instrumentation utilizes a slower pace with a brutal groove that demands you move your head to the beat.  It’s a fairly simple and monotonous track when compared to some of the others, but I found it be enjoyable throughout.  “Section 8” is another mild detractor, but it is the final one of its kind – the remaining five numbers are all assorted levels of awesome, with “Faces” and “The Night Remains” being my favorites.  “Devoid” is a brief, yet enjoyable instrumental track, and “Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence” is a fairly rocking tune that ends in the same manner that the album began, with the very same piano piece.

Aside from the drums, the level of musical ability is enjoyable, yet heavily subdued, especially when compared to some of the more “death metal” deathcore acts out there.  This is especially true on Whitechapel, as it seems the band continues a less technical trend they began with A New Era Of Corruption.  It feels like the guitar and bass arrangement is comprised of far more repetitive one note triplets and two note breakdowns than previous effort, but that’s not to say that they’re all boring.  Add in the fact that the band actually does this pretty well, and the formula kind of makes sense.  Still, in my book, this is almost as much against Whitechapel as it is a mark in their favor.  The drums, on the other hand, are fairly impressive as a whole.  Newest member Ben Harclerode certainly proves his worth with his performance on this record with his up-tempo, accurate rhythms.  As I mentioned earlier, Phil’s lyrics may not be the most inventive ever, but his style, which is mostly comprised of low growls, is a perfect match for the material, as it always has been.

Fans of Whitechapel will likely not be disappointed by this release.  The group is pretty much the yardstick for deathcore, and they have already garnered a lot of support with their rigid, no-frills take on the genre.  This album is just more of the same.  While I still personally prefer This Is Exile for its more metal approach than what has proceeded it, I was still able to get into Whitechapel without any real problems.  At the same time, if you’re not down with deathcore at all, you’re better off staying away – this likely isn’t the album to win you over.

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