Whitechapel
This Is Exile


3.5
great

Review

by Brandon Burton USER (19 Reviews)
July 8th, 2008 | 440 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whitechapel have stepped up and built upon the small but noticable flaws that hindered them in the past.

When Whitechapel released The Somatic Defilement in 2007, they happened to do so right in the middle of the huge deathcore movement. Hundreds upon hundreds of bands came out of the myspace ranks sounding scarily similar, a lot of them getting signed and going straight on the road. Whitechapel's The Somatic Defilement was not a bad album to say the least, but it just didn't pack as big of a punch as they were aiming for, releasing it on Seige of Amida/Candlelight Records and gone straight on the road. Having since then gotten signed to Metal Blade records and are now releasing "This Is Exile" through them. In all respective aspects this album is everything that The Somatic Defilement should have been, and was aiming for, its more intense, the music is much more full and rich sounding, and they seem like they are really growing as songwriters, refining their sound into a much more slick and overall more satisfying sound than heard on previous releases.

The first thing I'll mention is the absence of a lot of things used on The Somatic Defilement that are not used on this album. Phil's vocals have improved much, gone are the misplaced pig-squeals, (there isn't one on the entire album) that have been all but played out by bands like Job for a Cowboy and All Shall Perish. The sometimes ludicrous lyrics that were on The Somatic Defilement are now gone, Phil is not writing about dismembering and defiling women anymore, which is a much needed change. Don't get me wrong I love some of the callouts and lines he came up with on The Somatic Defilement but they sounded very juvenile sometimes and didn't really do anything to further the music itself. His writings have become a bit more universal as to include more of his hatred for humanity. The lyrics are probably the weakest point of the album but it is nice to see that he is at least trying to branch out of doing the same thing over again and trying to progress.

Another thing that is all but gone are what I liked to call the transition by guttural parts, where the band would just use Phil's lowest guttural growl to signal a breakdown or as a transition between different riffs and parts. They were much overused on The Somatic Defilement and I am glad to hear that they can go through an entire album without using this technique as a crutch. Another thing that isnt gone, but has gone through a few different changes are the breakdowns on this album. Of course Whitechapel still is considered a deathcore band and yes they still have them, but they are used much more sparingly and they go for more the 'tech' breakdown feel, rather than the straight forward ones we heard on The Somatic Defilement. Songs like "Somatically Incorrect" start out with what you would call a breakdown but quickly turn into one of the heaviest songs on this album or any of their previous works.

The musicianship on this album is really wonderful, it showcases that these guys have progressed as players and as songwriters since the release of their last album. The one thing that sets these guys apart from other deathcore bands is the presence of three guitarists. Normally a full guitar sound comes from two guitarists one doing rhythm tracks and one doing lead, occasionally switching shoes once and a while, Whitechapel have a even more full and hard hitting guitar section than most bands in the genre. While two guitarists can play what the song demands and give the music the already full and complete guitar scope another player can add more accents and give the music an extra boost of melody, on songs like Death Becomes Him, and can give extra crunch in songs like This Is Exile, Somatically Incorrect, and Possession. The having of three guitarists seems like an unneeded commodity when you first hear it but after you hear some of the guitar structures and rhythm on this album you might think twice about it.

The bass on the album is (like most releases) barely audible, with moments of it shining through in the mix and adding an even more full sound. I just wish they had more consistency with it and had it pulled forward more in the mix. The drums are nothing short of pummeling, Kevin Lane does an amazing job, bringing blasts, groove and some suprisingly technical fills and beats to the mix as well. He really shines on songs like Possession, To All That Are Dead, Eternal Refuge, and the epic closing to the album Messiahbolical. Songs like Of Legions and Death Becomes Him have a much different feel to them such as the introduction of some atmospheric sounds and eerie sounding guitar lines and structures, containing no vocals it is nice to hear them actually have some music for the interludes between songs other than just putting in some creepy sounds and calling it a song (Job for a Cowboy "Genesis".) Also if you listen to Exalt closely there is a guest appearance from Guy Kozowyk from The Red Chord, which (in the middle of the album) was nice suprise to hear.

Altogether This Is Exile succeeds in every way shape and form that The Somatic Defilement didn't, the music sounds much more full and complete, the lyrics are better, if not a little lackluster, and the vocals have matured past the pig squeals and the sections where Phil just seemed like he was trying to see how low he could growl. A big thing for bands in between releases is the absence of progression, a lot of bands (especially in this genre), do not progress from release to release. They may have one or two songs that go out and try something new but I don't see the point in releasing the same album twice. Give fans something new to hear, sure you will have to live with the fact that you will probably alienate some of them cause music fans always want their favorite bands to never change at all. But I feel that Whitechapel have successfully made an album that not only builds upon what they had created on The Somatic Defilement but also strikes out in a new direction, and into unfamiliar territory for the band. Now I know that the majority of people will probably write this off as 'just another deathcore release from a mediocre band' but I really think that people should give it a chance, if not, you're missing one hell of a good album.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
beans
July 8th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Might be a few flaws. Its 12:00 and the album is officially out.

rasputin
July 8th 2008


14546 Comments


Review is good, the only thing I could suggest would be to perhaps break up the two middle paragraphs (they're a bit full on) into two smaller parts, but it's fine the way it is too.

beans
July 8th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was actually thinking that myself so ill probably end up doing that

edit: fix'dThis Message Edited On 07.08.08

Pebster49
July 8th 2008


2992 Comments


Release Date: 07/15/2008

A week early?

beans
July 8th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

check their myspace, came out today july 8th, 2008

edit: also fix'dThis Message Edited On 07.08.08

foreverendeared
July 8th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review, but these guys are pretty horrible. for one, they have 3 guitarists. unnecessary. secondly, you can't even hear their bassist, so that's another wasted instrument. third, their breakdowns are generic. fourth, they are WAY overproduced. death metal should sound more raw. but, all of my points are probably invalidated since i thought JFaC's new cd was pretty decent and i like From Graves of Valor. basically, i suck, but that shouldn't distract from the fact that these guys suck as well.

my post = 5/5This Message Edited On 07.08.08

HighandDriving
July 8th 2008


3288 Comments


Ya it's pretty lame, listen to it awhile ago and it did nothing for me.

Somewhere along the lines of a 2 or 2.5.


DaveBum69
July 8th 2008


699 Comments


these guys are so bad another terrible deathcore band where I can't even listen to a full song of theres

walletCRACKED
July 8th 2008


21 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't know ever since getting signed to metal blade they've been going very steadily down hill, but somatic defilement was definitely a good album

beans
July 8th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

who negged?
just wondering, provide some constructive criticism if you're going to neg it

edit: nvm im sure it was illuvatar This Message Edited On 07.08.08

HighandDriving
July 8th 2008


3288 Comments


Ya that's an uncalled for neg even if the rating is bloated.

Ya Metal Blade is pretty much crap nowadays minus a few.

At least Black Market doesn't have an overload of shitty generic bands.

beans
July 8th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i dont know,i really think they did well on this album
oh well

iamthenightmare
July 8th 2008


754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They need to find new ways to start songs other than just a long bellow over a quick chug riff.
and fading out at the end of songs is way over used as well.
but still it is a step towards the right direction

beans
July 9th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fading out?
there's only a few songs that do it
and in any case why would the way the song ends whether stopping abruptly or fading out, matter?

blackout
July 9th 2008


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm fully with the reviewer on this one, think you did a good job.

Through my formative years I was an extreme metal purist, but with the emmergence of bands like whitechapel, despised icon, veil of maya etc I'm loving deathcore more and more. Certain aspects of the music may be a tad predictable but tell me exactly what sets one cannibal corpse song apart from another?

I'm not knocking CC at all, they were THE band that got me into metal, but I can't help but notice the irony...

And the overproduced comment...this just completely baffles me. Probably has something to do with me being a hobbyist audio engineer, but I cannot see the advantage unclear mixes and cheap sounding tones.

/rant over


Good review

foreverendeared
July 9th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

And the overproduced comment...this just completely baffles me. Probably has something to do with me being a hobbyist audio engineer, but I cannot see the advantage unclear mixes and cheap sounding tones.

it's like the vocals have so many different affects applied to them during different parts of their songs. it starts to just become really annoying. and i like how no one seems to have a problem with the fact that they, unnecessarily, have 3 guitarists.

poopf0rbrains
July 9th 2008


10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Of course no one has a problem with it, it isn't a fucking problem. This dude clearly pointed out what they are able to do with three guitarists, i couldn't have said it better myself. You seem to be nitpicking. Oh and this is an awesome review, by the way.This Message Edited On 07.09.08This Message Edited On 07.09.08

beans
July 9th 2008


2332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

foreverendeared:

this album has little to no vocal processing, and believe me when i say 3 guitarists seems very unnecessary, i know this, listen to songs like Death Becomes Him, and Messiahbolical, the addition of another guitarist gives their sound a lot more depth that you might think

foreverendeared
July 9th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

and believe me when i say 3 guitarists seems very unnecessary, i know this

you put the words right in my mouth!
seriously though? a LOT more depth? maybe slightly more depth. and i really laughed when you said the vocals have little to no processing.

foreverendeared
July 9th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

You seem to be nitpicking
ummm yeah. it's music. i'm a listener. i'm allowed to "nitpick"



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