Review Summary: Whitechapel strip away the excess core and breakdowns to produce their most solid effort.
Whitechapel has been a very consistent band throughout their existence. Each band member has undeniable talent with their respective instruments (whether or not they show it often is another matter), yet they have previously lacked the focus to create an album that truly separates them from the horde of deathcore bands.
Self-titled albums usually signify some sort of significance, detailing either a band cementing their unique sound or a change of direction (Metallica anyone?). Whitechapel has created both. Whilst still undoubtedly a Whitechapel record, they have matured rather than evolved their sound into a more focused and complete effort. Moments such as 2:27 into "Dead Silence" shows an example of the numerous moments in this album where Whitechapel opt for a solo or riff, rather than descending into the cookie cutter method of slowing things down for a "huge" breakdown. It is moments like these that show Whitechapel attempting to break free of the mould many have come to expect from them, and show that they are not slaves to their scene.
The unique fell that Whitechapel is aiming for is best shown on "Make it Bleed". This is the perfect opening track for "Whitechapel" (album), as it does a very good job of demonstrating their new mature sound. This is best demonstrated at the 2:25 mark, where the first breakdown of the album is accompanied with very tasteful and effective soloing. Had the breakdown been without the solo, it would have just like another Whitechapel breakdown, however the solo and breakdown complement each other very well. This gives us avery good taste of what to expect from the rest of the tracks on the album; Whitechapel without the nonsense.
Another medium Whitechapel has sought to utilise is the incorporation of Djent. Whilst not used as well as bands in similar genres, such as The Contortionist or Born of Osiris, it helps to provide something that is lacking in many recent deathcore and death metal releases; album variation. Whitechapel's use of various extreme metal "tools" prevent the listener from feeling like they have heard the same song twice in an album. Yet if genres are really that important to you, Whitechapel's new sound could be best described as a slow, rhythm (groove??) based death metal/core with hints of Meshuggah and Dying Fetus.
Despite the improvements and sound maturation that Whitechapel has undergone, whether or not you will like this album all comes down to taste. This is still Whitechapel. The breakdowns may be reduced (seriously), and the song writing ethic may be more about writing complete songs rather than scene anthems, yet if you hated Whitechapel before, this wil not change your mind. If you were partial to Whitechapel or thought they were just average then I'd advise you to give this a good listen. This is Whitechapel trying hard to be different.