Metal Blade Records 2012
It was a wise choice for Whitechapel to go the eponymous route with this album. As it is one that is likely to define them for years to come. No longer content to sit atop the throne in the deathcore leagues; the group have expanded their arsenal, their intent, and most importantly, their scope.
While still practitioners of the mighty bass drop, the band have backed away from the excessive hammering that pervaded their past output. Showcasing a greater penchant for debilitating grooves and eerie ambiance; the songs featured here are willfully encouraged to breathe and develop—rather than relentlessly assault.
Think Meshuggah‘s ominous polyrhythmic friction and Chimaira‘s ascendant soloing; and you’ll have a good idea what alterations have been made. The feverish bellows of pure vitriol and depraved lyrical hatred are obviously no stretch for vocalist Phil Bozeman.
Thus it is quite interesting to see him step out of his comfort zone on a handful of the included tracks. With an increased focus on phrasings and the injection of Slipknot-reminiscent suppressed emotional melody; this is easily his most versatile performance to date.
A thunderous wall of downtuned punchy guitar work leads the instrumental charge, rife with sharp metallic edges and crisp ringing tones. There’s also a healthy arsenal of chugging riffs that the punishingly heavy rhythm section amplifies to menacing levels.
But the true highlight of this release is not so much what the band can destroy. Rather it is the varied soundscapes they are now able to create before the eventual bulldozing.
The gravitas instilled by the depth and dynamics of this release not only embolden. For they also find the band firmly beginning to eclipse the confines of a genre they unwittingly helped to pioneer.
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