Whitechapel’s fourth studio album is the culmination of the Tennessee deathcore band’s journey so far, so it stands to reason that it would be released eponymously.
"These songs are some of the best material we have released to date, and the whole vibe of the record compelled us to self-title it," says guitarist Alex Wade. "With every record we strive for something different – we're always going to stay true to what Whitechapel is, but we want to evolve and do something that is fresh and engaging both for ourselves and for the people who support us."
Wade, along with Phil Bozeman (vocals), Ben Savage (guitars), Zach Householder (guitars), Gabe Crisp (bass), and Ben Harclerode (drums), fuses Whitechapel with an insistent darkness that swells into frenetic aggression.
As the follow-up 2010’s A New Era of Corruption, this album is everything Whitechapel was hoping for. It is a more cohesive record, with the band sharing songwriting responsibilities and chiselling out their vision for brutality across the swath of 10 songs.
While some death-related acts are reluctant to blend other paces or styles into their purist approaches, Whitechapel seems to revel in doing something a little different. Make no mistake about it: the record features the obligatory genre clichés, but there are other layers at work that make Whitechapel a unique experience.
“Make It Bleed” commences operations with piano, evoking a gloomy foundation before the sextet whirls in place with riffs and gruelling vocals. Bozeman’s vocals are feverish, yet there’s a method to the madness as he highlights the blackness within and plays with the technical traces of the dark, roaring piece.
Tracks like “(Cult)uralist” play in the deep end, with waves of percussive fire coming from Harclerode and Crisp’s department. Bozeman bloodies it up, screaming “I will kill you all” repeatedly.
Whether it’s the pit-turning violence of “Faces” or the bottom-heavy groove of “Possibilities of Impossible Existence,” Whitechapel is varied enough to surprise and yet ensconced enough in the fundamentals to please long-time fans. This is yet another valiant step on the deathcore path for a band growing by leaps and bounds with every movement.