CD Review: Whitechapel - WhitechapelMetal Blade
All Access Review: A-
|Whitechapel - Whitechapel 2012|
Someday, a happier Phil Bozeman might be moved to pen a charming children’s book full of goodness and light-hearted mirth. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon, however, as the superhuman, almost bestial lead vocalist and resident wordsmith for deathcore warriors Whitechapel has a spleen full of hate-filled bile built up inside that is just begging to be vented. And he expels gallons of it on the Tennessee band’s hotly anticipated new June 18 release for Metal Blade, a seething emotional cauldron of intensely hostile and dense, aggressively dynamic metal that’s saturated with starry atmospherics and resigned to the idea that “the world will rot from the inside out,” as Bozeman demonically growls in the brutally heavy chorus to “Section 8.”
As the decomposition eats away at mankind, Whitechapel will serenade the apocalypse with darkly melodic passages, a dizzying array of riffs and violent, death-obsessed imagery. A parade of exquisite misery and pain, expressed so vividly in Bozeman’s full-throated roar, this scary self-titled effort signifies just how anxious Whitechapel is to escape the restrictive extreme music ghetto they’ve been locked up in since their screaming, agonized birth. “Section 8” is their cry of freedom. A nightmarish frenzy of angry guitars and furious blast beats – courtesy of clever new drummer Ben Harclerode – that pummel and attack from all angles, “Section 8” shifts tempos seamlessly, slowing to a bulldozing crawl and then accelerating to breakneck speeds before exhaling its last breath. Similar in how it switches directions, the expansive first single, “Hate Creation,” does a swan dive into a swirling vortex of guttural, hellish vocals and layers of evil-sounding guitars created by Ben Savage, Zach Householder and Alex Wade. Regaining its footing, Whitechapel floats through little mystical episodes that vanish like mirages when a blazing sonic holocaust – stoked by Sepultura-like tribal percussive chanting from Bozeman – scorches the song’s sacred earth.
More curious, however, are “The Night Remains” and the epic closer “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence,” the former a mysterious, shadowy presence bringing destructive grooves and oddly intoxicating guitar hemlock and the latter a burnt offering of relentless heaviness and decayed beauty. Punctuated by a morose piano outro that serves as an exhausted epithet for this asylum of insane thrash, paralyzing breakdowns, and vigorous, charging rhythms, “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence” is the last monolithic structure standing on Whitechapel, an album that survives massive, devouring conflagrations like “Make it Bleed” and the politically-charged screed “Faces,” while also absorbing the booming guns of the chugging battleship “I, Dementia.” If this record is any indication, Whitechapel may just be deathcore’s greatest hope for crossover success … and Bozeman would be its messiah.
- Peter Lindblad