Monday, September 27, 2010

Whitechapel: A New Era of Corruption (2010)


Tennessee's Whitechapel has been hard to ignore in the metal universe lately. Professional reviews on both sides of the Atlantic have this message to old school metallers: Like it or not, this is the direction death metal is going, and this band is as good as it gets.

Now, I don't have anything in particular against deathcore. I am a death metaller at heart, so there is something slightly off-putting about the genre, but I'm willing to give it another chance.

Whitechapel is unusual in that they have three guitarists. That's not something real noticeable in their sound, but it does make them heavy. Technically, the band is precise and proficient, but their songwriting is a bit uneven. Vocalist Phil Bozeman is awful: He sounds like he's doing a bad parody of death grunts. (And the production cranks up the vocals way too high even for a good vocalist.)

When all they try to do is go for unfocused brutality the music is forgettable. The breakdowns are probably cool at a live show, but on a recording it isn't. On the other hand, they sometimes try some unique rhythms to very positive results (see "Breeding Violence" or "Unnerving"). I hate to say it, but these rhythms are distinctly hip hop influenced. So, when they sound good they are--brace yourself--kind of like "brutal nu metal".

The Verdict: Whitechapel has a lot going for them, and there are some good moments on the new album. If they would get rid of their vocalist and (I know this sounds weird) listen to a lot of early Korn, they could be something much better than they are now. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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