Review Summary: The weakest outing for a band that until now still held some respect
Whitechapel are a band that has garnered mixed reviews over the years due primarily to the fact that they started out as a deathcore band. Their first two albums were firmly routed in that genre before A New Era Of Corruption geared the band up for more of a pure death metal sound. It was by this point that the band's critics were starting to lay off them a little and accept that that particular album was a step in the right direction, with crunchy death metal riffs and a good vocal performance despite some questionable lyrical material. Songs such as Reprogrammed To Hate and The Darkest Day Of Man stand out as some of the best they have put together and Whitechapel finally appeared to have done something right. Until 2012 came and they released their self-titled album which was a complete step backwards and is little more than just another average deathcore album that sticks out like a sore thumb as the worst in their discography.
The first two songs on the album showed a little promise despite the silly clean vocals from Phil on Hate Creation in which he proclaims "I'm so sick of all these people", at least they had some tasty quick riffs and the opening song even has a nice clean introduction that builds up to the mayhem to follow. However these two songs are really bland and do little to build up any form of momentum to carry the album through even one of the terrible songs that are to follow on from it and make them tolerable. Whilst Hate Creation and the stupidly titled Make It Bleed are enjoyable enough numbers despite the breakdowns, they do absolutely nothing for the album on the whole and when the *** hits the fan it really hits the fan. From this point onward there is little merit to be found on the album. Section 8 is the only other song that can actually hold its own as a listenable song due to a couple of meaty riffs that carry it a long way.
The thing to note about this album is that the breakdowns have been reduced massively in number and that the band has matured a lot as musicians and therefore attempt to disguise the mindless chugging with solos at times. However when they show through without solos or any gimmicks, they are even more devoid of interesting material than the first two albums combined. On This Is Exile the band at least had an element of variety to their riffing and song structures whereas every song on Whitechapel's self-titled fourth album bar the previously mentioned ones have absolutely nothing of merit to them. The riffs are bland tremolo picking with the occasional chord based slower riff found and then the obligatory deathcore open string breakdowns that are even more annoying than on previous albums. Also the band attempt to be clever with their lyrics such as a nod to their previous albums in the opening line of Make It Bleed by saying "We've been somatically defiled, exiled and now this new era has come to an end". Phil Bozeman is no poet but this really is taking the piss; this sort of line has no place on any music album anywhere but for some reason he felt the need to scrape it out of the bottom of a *** barrel.
The drumming lacks a real sense of variety and it just sounds as though the drummer is merely keeping a rhythm whilst the three guitars do nothing but play the exact same riff over and over again over the top of it all, with the occasional shredding solo scattered throughout. This would be alright for a mini EP where at least it would be over in a relatively short time but this is not a short album and it feels even longer due to the lack of variety. Every song except the decent ones mentioned previously just chugs along and does nothing new and never attempts to break out of the mold that Whitechapel are clearly crafting their songs from. They just feel like This Is Exile without any manner of technicality nor and intricate song structures like there was on select songs off of that album. Unfortunately all Whitechapel have done with their latest album is take a massive step back from their past material that was still at least semi-respectable within a select audience of people and make an album that one would have a hard time recommending to anyone whatsoever.