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Album Reviews : Whitechapel – A New Era of Corruption

By on June 15, 2010

2831077While the newish genre Deathcore has given us it’s fair share of awful, run of the mill acts – like most new genres there is always a few exceptions, as the occasional band aims to forge its own identity and stand out from the pack. However, with their previous two releases’ in 2007 and 2008, Whitechapel were not one of these exceptions; with a reliance on the stock-standard ‘breakdown, fast bit, breakdown’ template along with a rather pointless triple guitar attack.

Well, despite “A New Era of Corruption” not really deviating from aforementioned stylings, Whitechapel seem to have turned up both the heaviness and the quality. Opening with “Devolver”, the song shows off the bands new found sense of melody as well as a slightly more straight ahead structure. Ben Savage’s lead guitar work is far more evident throughout, with harmonies and melodies plastered across the song and album.

The grooves are stronger as well, and while there are certainly plenty of instances where the tempo dramatically drops, the band seems to have escaped the all conquering ‘breakdown’ fixation by simply writing more structured, heavy songs – with the crushing “Breeding Violence” showing that there is more to the band than simply chugging on the open 7th string. The addition of keyboard parts also adds a layer of mechanical and industrial noise to songs, while also a quasi-black metal feel to “Unnerving” and the jarring opening groove of the aforementioned “Breeding Violence”.

Phil Bozeman’s vocals are fairly intense, but his growls do tend to become slightly grating as the record reaches the end. His lyrics, though far from the Cannibal Corpse rip off that they used to be on past albums, are still slightly simple in parts, but the themes of political corruption and the future of mankind is show off a sense of maturity. Deftones’ frontman Chino Morino lends his screams to “Reprogrammed to Hate” – although the really don’t add that much to the track as Bozeman’s high shrieks have the exact same effect. Interestingly enough, the first single to be released from the album, “The Darkest Day of Man”, is probably one of the weakest songs on the record, while the closing “Single File to Dehumanization” is probably the most diverse song on the album, with 8 string guitars, acoustics and distorted keyboards, and an absolutely titanic outro groove before suddenly climaxing with a haunting loop.

The thing that keeps “A New Era of Corruption” from being anymore than a better than average album is that the songs themselves sort of run into each other, with the lack of variety from song to song highlighting the band’s avoidance to move away from the Deathcore scene. Of course the great death metal bands like Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel don’t stray from the blue print on every song, but they make up for it by simply being able to constantly land the killing musical blow – something that Whitechapel seem to miss on a number of the songs.

“A New Era of Corruption” is easily the best album from Whitechapel in their short career – still far from a masterpiece but a good sign of intent from the band. It will certainly satisfy to the band’s fanbase and perhaps show a few non-believers that the Deathcore trend still has some life in it as long as the bands are willing to progress and keep musically moving. 6.5/10

Band: Whitechapel
Album: A New Era of Corruption
Year: 2010
Genre: Deathcore
Origin: California, USA
Label: Metal Blade/Riot!
www.myspace.com/whitechapel

Track Listing

1. Devolver <- Reviewers Choice
2. Breeding Violence <- Reviewers Choice
3. The Darkest Day of Man
4. Reprogrammed to Hate
5. End of Flesh
6. Unnerving
7. A Future Corrupt
8. Prayer of Mockery
9. Murder Sermon
10. Necromechanical
11. Single File to Dehumanization <- Reviewers Choice

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.