June 26, 2010

Music Review: Whitechapel - A New Era of Corruption

In 2008 I picked up an album by a group called Whitechapel. I was completely unfamiliar with them and to be honest I am not quite sure why I did. The album was called This is Exile and I was treated to forty-minutes of solid deathcore. I liked it. It was aggressive, unrelenting, and came with a lot of energy. Great? No, not really, but I liked it well enough and that was all I needed. I do not always approach music with a critic's ear and this was one of those records. Well, now it is two years later and the young quintet is back with their second album for Metal Blade and third overall. It is time to turn on critic side and think about if I really like these guys or not.

Deathcore is not really my genre of choice, but I can definitely see the attraction of the genre mash up. What is interesting about A New Era of Corruption is that it is a very good example of deathcore while also taking some steps away from the genre and perhaps a bit more towards the death metal side of the coin. It is an interesting combination and it could be telling as to the direction they see themselves moving in going forward. With that said, I like what they are doing here and would like to see further explorations of what was done here.

All right, I guess he cat is out of the bag. This is a really good album. The two years since This is Exile have been very good to them. This collection of tunes shows a great amount of growth. It is still heavy, brutal, aggressive, and whatever other word you want to affix to their brand of heaviness. However, the two years have seen the band grow as musicians and songwriters.

A New Era of Corruption sees a move away from breakdown reliance. Don't worry breakdown fans, they are there just not in as great numbers as they once were. Now I love breakdowns as much as the next guy, nothing quite like a slow, chunky, basic riff to get the blood going, but let's be honest, they are mostly for the live crowd anyway, right? A moment to get your mosh on. I recall when thrash acts in the 80's had these moments (Anthrax even labeled them in their lyrics sheets as "mosh part"). This is also why I do not care for bands like Emmure which seem to be nothing but breakdowns.

Back to the band at hand. Another element that seems to have crept into more tunes is the solo. That's right, solos in deathcore. The last album had a couple, but this one has a bunch more on display not to mention they are quite good and fit the songs well. For that matter, the three guitarists prove to be a powerful driving force. Yes, three guitarists. I cannot say I realized that with the last album. They craft an thick wall of sound while also moving in a few different directions. While they often come together on a riff, there are even more times where they are each playing separate lines that weave together to form the backbone of what Whitechapel does so well.

In addition to the trio of axemen stepping it up, Phil Bozeman has also stepped up his vocals. He is a monster on the mic. His vocals are not will varied, but there is some variety and his ability to enunciate at some of his most growly moments is quite impressive. I am also surprised he has not yet shredded his throat as his style sounds downright painful.

So, when you start listening to this, and you should, it has a brief run time of just over 42 minutes so it will not take long to get through it. It wastes no time getting to the good stuff and does not stay too long. Remember to focus on: "Devolver," "Reprogrammed to Hate," "Unnerving," and "Murder Sermon."

Bottomline. This album is surprising. It is not going to bust down doors and redefine the genre, but it is a very good example of how to do it right and maybe expand the zone a little bit. This is definitely one to check out for all you metal fans who like it heavy.


Disclosure: A promotional copy was supplied for this review. It had no effect on the outcome.

Article first published as Music Review: Whitechapel - A New Era of Corruption on Blogcritics.


Post a Comment