Whitechapel – a band cherished by many, but hated by just as many, if not more. Surely preparing to terrorize and torment fans of We The Kings and similar bands at Warped Tour this summer, we have been blessed with some new material to mosh and headbang to, as Whitechapel will likely try to attract new fans, yet satisfy the old. Although they have been looked down upon since the beginning for their gruesome lyrics, exploitation of breakdowns (which some consider to be BR00TAL), and what was deemed by some as “lack of musical talent,” employing their down-tuned seven string guitars. A New Era of Corruption brings the deep gutturals of past albums, shrieking yet powerful highs, and shows the members’ desire to incorporate more melodic ability as they struggle to escape the title of “deathcore.”
Whitechapel wastes no time getting to its brutality and heaviness right off the bat. Front-man, Phil Bozeman, effortlessly shows off his range and ability to enunciate lyrics well, allowing for more understandability than most metal bands. Kevin Lane displays blast beats and fancy footwork; breakdowns are far from absent as Alex Wade, Ben Savage, and Zach Householder work to show that three guitarists are indeed called for, bringing more prevalent leads and complicated accompaniments.
Through one listen, the track that caught my attention is “Necromechanical.” The title alone is reminiscent of past albums, and reminds me of tracks that first attracted me to the band such as “Vicer Exerciser” and “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation” from The Somatic Defilement. The intro is eerie and just a sign of things to come. It’s followed by one china cymbal hit and several pauses before jumping into what may be the heaviest part of the album. There is quick double-bass, chugs, and riffing followed by an insane pinch harmonic, all accompanied by low, commanding, gutturals. More melodic parts are heard later in the song, followed by a guitar riff that could be described as fluttering, as it goes back and forth between semitones. It closes with another chugging breakdown and ends on a sound of feedback.
After a few listens, one of the tracks I enjoy most on the album is “Breeding Violence,” one of the tracks released weeks before the album’s drop date in order to satisfy fans’ growing desire for the new album. It starts out with a phaser-effected intro, a powerful bark, and a low fretted dive-bomb bend just before the verse begins. It holds jumpy breakdowns that bounce around on the low A-string, and unexpected panic chords broken up by crunchy chugs. While this is the case, they still manage to include a quick, yet catchy guitar solo to change things up, and between 2:20 and 2:35 there is some especially impressive drumming by Lane.
In the following track, “The Darkest Day of Man,” a lot of the similar elements are found, but the song seems to come off in a different way. The band still makes use of dominant sevenths in the breakdown, which were flooded throughout This is Exile. The track particularly reminds me of the song “Exalt,” from the previous release, in that it seems like it’s meant to be a catchy track to many who have not listened to them before, or are not huge fans of the genre. It holds riffs that are repeated differently in the same pattern, with different notes. It is a song that one can quickly become familiar with, but will grow tired of just as quick. However, the band does not let its heavy side go unnoticed as the track concludes with a ten second guttural howl. It will certainly not be any old fan’s favorite track on the album, but is still fitting.
“End of Flesh” comes in with octaves being played demonically as the most established part, and it sounds as if it could be an ode to the end of the world. It proceeds into a galloping breakdown to pick up the pace, and then to another with a tritone feel that is so dirty it sounds great. Unexpectedly, after another taste of the intro, an acoustic bridge leads to a breakdown that yields the mental image of an army marching into battle, and ends with battle-like drum roll patterns.
In my opinion, Whitechapel has made great strides with A New Era of Corruption. They have made their sound and writing more professional, while still including all the beloved heavy breakdowns of the past. I think that they will gain a lot more respect from others in the metal community as there is certainly a great amount of talent present. It may not have the one-liners which used to drop into breakdowns, such as the “YOU WILL NEVER FUCK AGAIN” of “Vicer Exerciser,” but this is due to the fact that they are looking to shed the childish and amateur vibe that many felt unnecessary, or even off-putting. They have proved that the guitarists are capable of playing without distortion, and will surely continue to put on a great live show that is not to be missed at Warped ’10.