In the world of deathcore, there aren’t too many bands that do it for me quite like Whitechapel. The band, to me, represents all of the great things about deathcore in one package. However, much like many other bands, after a few albums and a good amount of success on the mainstream, some musical changes have been taking place in their overall sound. I had the opportunity to review their last, self-titled album and that drift was pretty apparent. So now, on Our Endless War, we might be able to see where they were going and where they are now.
If you’re expecting generic deathcore, or sounds from an older release like This Is Exile, that’s definitely not what you’ll get on Our Endless War. The little bits of change from Whitechapel have definitely continued onto this new album and have definitely taken over the sound of the band. These evolutionary periods always produce the most interesting albums, especially if you have a pretty close affinity with the band. The evolution of a band's sound is definitely a “make or break” situation, but since Whitechapel has been working on it since the last album, perhaps Our Endless War will seem completely expected.
So I’ve just about done nothing but allude to this “new style” that Whitechapel appears to be drifting towards, but don’t put too much heat in those words. Basically, it just seems like the band is more concerned about writing good metal that also happens to have a close relative to deathcore, which almost now seems kind of like a stretch to compare it with. When you hear Our Endless War, you know it’s still Whitechapel, but feels so much more refined, and definitely like a lot more thought has been given in the writing of these songs.
One way Whitechapel is sounding a little different is its presence of slower songs. Speed definitely isn’t the main focus of the album and instead lets the riffs of each song carry the weight. This really allows the songs to really feel distinct in what they bring to the table, and just makes them that much more memorable. Songs like “Mono”, “The Saw is the Law”, “Diggs Road” and “Let Me Burn” are prime examples of this sort of feel. I noticed a lot of this slower-paced feel in the previous album pop up as well, but slow does not equal boring either. There is still a great amount of energy as they trudge along. “Let Me Burn”, for instance, has some really great headbanging moments, and “Psychopathy” even has a bit of a drum solo for Ben Harclerode.
Our Endless War still has its brutal moments like any good Whitechapel album should have. The title track, “Our Endless War” is about as close to basic deathcore this album gets with its circle pit inducing opening riff. “Worship the Digital Age” is another one of the more brutal tracks with lightening fast riffs, and a display of power that only vocalist Phil Bozeman can show. I would also highly recommend checking out the bonus track “A Process So Familiar.” If you really want something heavy from Whitechapel, this song is the shot in the arm you need. And even in these songs, it’s pretty apparent the band just wants to make good music more than anything. Every song literally feels like a new song and keeps you engaged throughout the entire listening process. There’s so much more polish on their sound than ever before, and I believe it’s paying off for them immensely.
Our Endless War by Whitechapel is a fantastic release. I really love the progression of their sound from the beginning of their career to this point and hope to hear it continue in releases to come. Again, if the first association you make of Whitechapel is deathcore, you won’t exactly get that in Our Endless War. This is definitely one of Whitechapel’s best albums and should obviously at least be given a try if you’re not already a fan.