Well it's here. My most anticipated album this year. I can easily say that Whitechapel are one of my favorite bands, and I'd also go as far as to say they are the best band Deathcore has to offer. I'm talking straight Deathcore. I'd personally say these guys are the best, but when you consider progressive deathcore bands the talent pool widens quite a bit. I was enjoyed This Is Exile, and to a lesser extent The Somatic Defilement, but Whitechapel really caught my attention with A New Era Of Corruption, which stands as one of my all time favorite records. So how does their fourth effort stand?
It's a solid step in the right direction for the band. I love A New Era Of Corruption and I don't think this album is a hugely better, mainly because that's hard to do, but there are definitely elements of this album that have improved.
The first improvement comes in terms of technicality, not only do the riffs and chugs feel a bit smarter, but the inclusion of actual guitar solo's, a particularly great one on '(Cult)uralist', definitely make this album stand out more. Whitechapel's taken flak over the last few albums because they have 3 guitarists, which seemed a tad unnecessary, however this album feels like it uses the guitars much better overall. I'm not entirely sure it warrants 3 guitarists still, but if I'm gonna go with it's better to have more than not enough.
As for drums, this is the first album with Ben Harclerode on recording. Kevin Lane did the previous three albums but had to leave the band shortly after the release of A New Era Of Corruption. Ben's toured with the band since then and after playing Kevin Lanes arrangements for a while I would imagine he got his style down. I would say though that Ben has improved on it. It's not worlds better, but the fills and pacing seems better.
Then there's Phil Bozeman. Phil, as I've said before, is my favorite vocalist in deathcore, and I'd go as far to say he's one of the best voices in modern metal. There's isn't much improvement over the last album because it's hard to improve on something that's already fantastic. His lyrics however are as dark as ever. This album unlike the first two albums is not a concept album. The lyrics are dark, nihilistic, and more in line with the themes of A New Era Of Corruption. 'Hate Creation' and 'Section 8' essentially sum of the lyrics of the album with 'Let this be the day that I stop to care and pour my hate out on this world' and 'You're all worthless.'
One of the thing's I loved about A New Era Of Corruption was the overall atmosphere of the album. It not only sounded dark, it felt dark thanks to the tone of each song and how they connected. This album continues that feeling. It begins and ends with a dark piano piece and also contains these acoustic bits here and there that help push that atmosphere.
The only real disappointment I had with this album was the actual inclusion of the song 'Section 8'. I understand why it was put in, I mean it was recently recorded, and fits perfectly with the album but having already been released on the Recorrupted EP it felt a little less fresh compared to the rest of the tracks, but it's not a big qualm.
As a whole the album isn't a giant step forward for the band but it's a step forward for an already solid band. The increase in technicality, and the continued perfection of atmosphere really help make this a stellar release. I'll probably end up enjoying it as much as A New Era Of Corruption, and I'll definitely be replaying this for a long time.