Whitechapel - Topic

A New Era of Corruption Play

Europe (especially the Scandinavian countries) has been dominating death metal for so long that if an American death metal band didn't emerge until the 2000s, one cannot help but wonder if there is going to be some type of European influence. Knoxville, TN's Whitechapel have been around since 2006, and the sound they bring to A New Era of Corruption does, in fact, have some European metal influences -- and yet, Whitechapel never sound like they are going out of their way to emulate European bands. No, this is a death metal album with a bi-continental perspective; in other words, Whitechapel have both North American and European influences and cannot be pigeonholed as strictly American-sounding or strictly European-sounding. This 2010 recording is death metal with elements of technical metalcore; grindcore is an influence, and there are occasional hints of black metal. Indeed, a band that has all of those influences is clearly looking to more than one continent for artistic inspiration, which is a good thing because A New Era of Corruption is fairly unpredictable. There are plenty of twists and turns on this 41-minute CD; tempo changes are frequent, and vocal styles vary. Lead singer Phil Bozeman embraces a death metal Cookie Monster growl more often than not, but that doesn't prevent him from making some detours into metalcore screaming or a black metal-ish rasp. Occasionally, A New Era of Corruption ends up sounding unfocused and confused, although that isn't a huge problem -- and when all is said and done, Whitechapel end up with a mildly uneven album that isn't perfect but has more pluses than minuses. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

The Somatic Defilement Play

Visit a website that discusses the history of Whitechapel (an area on London's East End), and you are likely to find some mention of Jack the Ripper (the infamous serial killer who murdered prostitutes in Whitechapel in 1888). Whitechapel (which can easily be reached via the District Line or the Hammersmith & City Line on the London Tube) isn't a major tourist destination like Piccadilly Circus, but it does attract some foreign visitors who want to see where Jack the Ripper went in search of victims -- and it isn't hard to imagine the members of the band Whitechapel doing a "Jack the Ripper" tour of the East End during a visit to London. Whitechapel are not a British band; the death metallers are actually from Knoxville, TN, but they chose their name because of Jack the Ripper. Never let it be said that death metal bands don't have a fascination with gruesome subject matter, which is quite plentiful on their debut album, Somatic Defilement. This 32-minute CD is full of references to death, murder, and mutilation, but tunes like "Alone in the Morgue," "Devirgination Studies," and "Vicer Exciser" come across as ironic rather than genuinely disturbing. Whitechapel's approach is best described as death metal with elements of technical metalcore; lead singer Phil Bozeman usually favors death metal's stereotypical "cookie monster" growl, but he sometimes detours into metalcore-ish screaming. The influences on this disc range from Carcass (the song titles "Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation" and "Articulo Mortis" are certainly Carcass-like) to the Black Dahlia Murder (another metal band whose name was inspired by a senseless killing of long ago). Somatic Defilement isn't remarkable, but it offers a decent dose of bombast to those who like their death metal with some acknowledgement of technical metalcore. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

This Is Exile Play

The burgeoning southwestern United States "deathcore" scene gets another kick in the teeth from Knoxville, TN's Whitechapel with This Is Exile, their first full-length for Metal Blade. A quick glance at the cover art (razor wire, emaciated dude with a bag on his head) and the song titles ("Daemon [The Procreated]," "Messiahbolical") pretty much sums up what's inside, but Whitechapel (named for Jack the Ripper's preferred London hunting grounds) are capable of more than just eating the microphone and playing relentlessly fast -- standout cuts like "Possession," the instrumental "Death Becomes Him," and the blistering title cut, the latter of which yields the album's best lyric ("The world is ours and you're totally fucking dead"), are rarely predictable. To be sure, the "heavy, choppy chromatic riffs wrapped around an indecipherable monster voice" style that fuels the genre is well utilized, but around every corner is a sneaky melodic lead, time-signature change, or smart production trick that elevates This Is Exile above the usual death/metalcore sonic assault. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Whitechapel Play

A deathcore band that often feels more "death" than "core," Whitechapel channel a sonic maelstrom of destruction on their eponymous fourth album, Whitechapel. Whitechapel is one of the few bands in the genre willing to break away from the tired riff-breakdown-rinse-repeat cycle in favor a more chaotic style that seems to throw things at you from every direction without giving you time to properly adjust. Their self-titled effort also marks the album debut of their new drummer, Ben Harclerode, who slots into the band seamlessly with drumming that's as ferocious as it is technically dazzling. For anyone turned off by deathcore in the past, Whitechapel is a band that is definitely worth checking out, and with its expansive and devastating sound, this self-titled album makes for a great jumping-off point. ~ Gregory Heaney, Rovi
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