Whitechapel: Whitechapel

Since forming in 2006 Tennessee death metal/core band Whitechapel has been one of the mightiest most brutal pioneers of the genre especially seizing its reins with their 20120 album A New Era of Corruption. Last year saw the band release the Recorrupted EP which included of most note new track Section 8, an impressive song offering suggestions of the band exploring new directions in thought and imagination for their new self-titled album. It really was just a hint without giving full notice of the intriguing creativity to be unveiled on this the fourth Whitechapel album, a release sure to have fans and metal talking/debating.

The album is likely to divide people as to its position against the older material and releases, certainly against A New Era of Corruption. It is impossible to imagine any will dislike it completely but the degrees to how they welcome it will be varied as already seen amongst reviewers. For us it is an impressive attempt to evolve their already devastating sound into an even more decisive and unique invention. Is it better than its predecessor? No but nor is it a step back. It is an entry through a new door of imagination and ingenuity, a sideways investigation quality wise with unpredictable and compelling results. It is not 100% successful but near as could be asked and what release is ever perfect anyway.

Released June 19th through Metal Blade Records, the album discovers and conjures distinct and intrusive atmospheres to compound and expand their already destructive sounds. The tracks are adventurous and at times surprising without losing the core of Whitechapel, and when at times the unbridled intensity is held in restraint the band achieve the same impact through shadows and a blackened craft of disturbed enterprise and melodic violations. As you read you are undoubtedly forming an opinion before a note corrupts your senses but this is definitely one time that the music has to do the persuading or dissuading alone.

The album strikes from the start with its best track in Make It Bleed. Its intro is an emotive lead of piano and brewing keys, their combination a mournful beckoning into the thunderous explosion of sound soon to follow.  Riffs crush from a great height and vocalist Phil Bozeman spills malicious bile with every word. Within the black intensity and rampaging aggression though there are slithers of teasing grooves guiding one through the mass of aural corruption. As everything presses down upon the ear more violently the track takes a respite with some outstanding melodic guitar right out of the song book of Breed 77 and combines the two approaches with a defined and skilful touch. The song twists one inside out keeping up with all that is going on, its addictive pull insatiable right up to its last note, itself a lingering snarl.

From such a great start you would imagine a step back but not with Whitechapel, they just relentlessly ignite and incite the fullest and deepest pleasure with tracks like Hate Creation, (Cult)uralist, and I, Dementia.  The first is a brawling mass of violence rupturing the senses whilst clean sonic swipes forge a sharper intrusion. Vocally Bozeman mixes up his excellent vocals with some clean spoken parts reminding of Corey Taylor/Slipknot. The middle song is a colossal predator prowling and provoking with melodic lures and incendiary sparks of malevolence whilst the last of the trio is one of the most imaginative and inspiring on the release. I, Dementia from its first presence scrapes and niggles at the synapses like a sonic leech bleeding the senses as muscular riffs force the lesions wider. Like the demon in every shadow of the mind, the track manipulates with taunting greedy grooves and bone splitting rhythms. It is a masterful track which leaves a permanent inciteful presence after its departure.

The band is at the top of their game inventively and musically, the mentioned tracks and those like Faces, Dead Silence, and The Night Remains just as impressive compelling. The album is the first with new drummer Ben Harclerode and he really is a step forward in that department though his predecessor Kevin Lane was far from a slouch, but Harclerode is a force of nature, his power and creativity persistently climatic and even when he is not so noticeable he is still driving and spearing the sounds ingeniously.

Weirdly and though still a mighty component of the album Section 8 loses the impact it had when first unleashed last year, whether it has been remixed or just the other tracks have bypassed it in quality the song is far less remarkable in the context of the release.

Closing with the excellent enveloping Possibilities of an Impossible Existence, a track of blackened heart and even darker vindictive substance, the album is outstanding and though surprisingly different to what most would  expect from the band it is invigorating and an immense base for titanic glories ahead.

Ringmaster 16/06/2012

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Whitechapel – Recorrupted

There are sure to be many views as to the reasoning and worthiness of the Recorrupted EP from Knoxville TN metalers Whitechapel, many wondering the credibility of releasing an EP with only one original track, a cover, an acoustic track, and two remixes. Whether Recorrupted works as a true opening for new fans to the wealth of brilliance the band has behind them or holds enough within to entice existing fan’s enthusiasm enough to purhase it is arguable and surely will be debated across the web and world. The most important aspect of the EP, the music though cannot be challenged. Simply as always from the quintet the sounds are stunning and undeniably rich, brutal and astounding.

Released November 8th via Metal Blade Records, the EP is an immense slice of Whitechapel might to fill the gap between last album A New Era Of Corruption and whatever comes next. The first two recordings on the EP feature new drummer Ben Harclerode and shows immediately he has fitted in well and brought his own distinct skill to the sound. 

Since starting in 2006 it has been a fairly rapid and heady rise to the top of the deathcore ranks for the band and of all their companions in the genre are surely the most eagerly awaited and anticipated to release anything. Because of this one could raise the question as to if the EP taking advantage of that but listening to the release numerous times the thought never rears its ugly head, of course the fact that the EP is so impressive overall helps.

Opening track ‘Section 8’ is the brand new song and another for their fans to drool over. Crushing beats, ground shaking riffs with primal aggressive vocals and intensity, the track is a colossus showing future Whitechapel music is going to be as devastating and impressive as in the past, even more so on this evidence. Stripping the ear of feeling the song tramples incessantly over the senses, the guitars of Alex Wade, Ben Savage, and Zach Householder as merciless in intensity as they are unique in creativity behind the dominating wall of noise. The bass of Gabe Crisp is equally demanding and insatiable while vocally Phil Bozeman is as gratifyingly venomous and uncompromising as ever.

The cover of Pantera’s ‘Strength Beyond Strength’ is not obviously only a great song in its own rights but a thoroughly satisfying beast in the hands of Whitechapel. They instil it with their own vehemence and distinct ungodly power to take it far enough away from the original to stand as a very worthy addition to the Tennessee quintet’s catalogue.

Remixes never sit well here being hit and miss as on the new EP from As I Lay Dying, or as is usually the norm a complete waste of ear energy, their reason to be evading understanding. With a very deep satisfaction and much surprise it has to be said the two remixes on Recorrupted give evidence for their validity to some extent, the duo of songs retaining the essence of the original versions with the band’s power within their interpreted variations.  The Big Chocolate Remix of ‘Breeding Violence’ is especially surprising and impressive considering the less than glittering remix done with an As I Lay Dying song. Combining an industrial flow to the Whitechapel brutality with overtones from dare one say techno origins it works well and is easily up for repeat plays. ‘This Is Exile’ is remixed by Ben Weinman (The Dillinger Escape Plan) who takes it further away from the original than Big Chocolate did theirs. Tribal essences welded on to the power and fused with atmospheric menace the track roves to be much more agreeable than one imagined before time.

An acoustic version of ‘End Of Flesh’ ends the EP. Kept to an instrumental the song is a vibrant and expressive piece of music that reveals the creativity of the band which at times is hidden behind their consuming sounds. The classical feel and musical poetry of the song is enlightening and wonderful.

Whatever one feels about the value of the makeup of Recorrupted is up for discussion but the bottom-line is the EP is excellent, every track worthy of its place and the attention of their existing and future fans. Never thought this page would say that about remixes.

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RingMaster 01/11/2011

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