Some of histories greatest bands weren’t extremely revolutionary, original, or pioneering a new way of life through their music. Some of them simply did their respective genres the right way it could possibly be done in every aspect. I believe that much could be said about Whitechapel in regards to deathcore. With deathcore being quite the crowded scene, it’s easy to encounter what seems to be the same band over and over again. But Whitechapel seems to be able to knock it out of the park with every release they have. And I feel that continues to apply to their latest, self-titled release, Whitechapel.
Whitechapel could possibly be the most popular band in the deathcore genre, and it definitely shows why on this album. I’ve always liked their unstructured approach to their song writing. It never seems like they follow the same template for each of their songs, but rather they just let the brutality run it’s own course. But Whitechapel takes this approach just a little bit further straight from the get-go. The first song, “Make It Bleed”, doesn’t slap you right in the face with a verse riff, but instead with a melancholy piano and strings melody. This is what I always like about self-titled albums. It’s more of a presentation of the band’s essence, as opposed to it revolving around a central theme. It also gives them free range to write whatever they want, and not lock themselves into following that central theme. With the melodic intro, a few acoustic guitar interludes, and a chuggy main riff, “Make It Bleed” becomes a challenging listen, and a strong opening song. “Hate Creation”, the second track, turns into what we’re more accustomed to hearing from Whitechapel. Yet it almost gets to the point where the only deathcore aspect we can identify is a couple breakdowns. Other songs in the album do a few things that stand out from just conventional deathcore. “Dead Silence” drifts away from the chugging for a bit to make way for some melodic double picking. Also, following the trend of the opener, “The Night Remains” and “Devoid” begin with a melodic intro from a “non-metal” instrument. And to finish the album, “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence” takes the piano and string melody from the top of the album and rehashes it to finally give us that sense of conclusion. The band is clearly experimenting with a few new sounds and writing styles, which is fantastic. If it’s one thing the world already has too much of, it’s cookie-cutter deathcore bands. But the best thing is that it still offers everything that fans crave from Whitechapel. The duo of Alex Wade and Ben Savage continue to drive the Whitechapel force along with new drummer Ben Harclerode. And Phil Bozeman’s guttural vocals are the perfect topping to the entire picture. This is evident on tracks like “(Cult)uralist)”, and “Section 8”, which are tracks that are the closest to the classic Whitechapel style. No matter what, the familiar flavors of Whitechapel are always present; some of them just got a new paint job.
Overall, Whitechapel is the band’s most ambitious release to date. It took a few steps in different directions and presented new sounds that work pretty well together. They executed these new sounds with respect and intelligence, just like they treat the aspects of deathcore. Pick up this album, and expect to hear new and great things from this well-known and loved band.
Whitechapel will be available on June 19th, 2012 with Metal Blade Records.