Review Summary: Whitechapel's most recent release is more musically appealing, but doesn't lose the band's heavier roots.
This release surprised a few fans of Whitechapel, due to its softer and more melodic nature, and I was duly surprised too. I felt a strong element of pleasant surprise however when I first listened to this album, and upon reflection I think it is an important stepping stone to the future for the 6 piece deathcore legends. We have seen countless deathcore bands pump out almost identical releases every year, consisting of heavy down tuned guitars and 'brutal' lyrics with breakdowns every 2 minutes. There is nothing wrong a with generic, hard hitting album, but it is irritating when a band lacks the creativity to produce nothing but this year after year. 'The Somatic Defilement' was a fantastic debut full-length, and immediately demonstrated the band's potential to produce a heavy album like I have just described, and 'A New Era of Corruption' was a perfectly fine follow up to it. 'This is Exile' however, lacked the heaviness of the first two albums, and also lacked the creativity of the 2012 self titled release that I am going to be reviewing here. The best thing about this album for me, is that it showcases Whitechapel's talent as musicians, and it shows that you can make a strong and undisputed deathcore album without it becoming awful and cringey, like Chelsea Grin's new EP 'Evolve'.
The opening track 'Make it Bleed' contains a chilling piano intro which sends shivers down the listener's spine, and the first line of lyrics to the album and consequently the named song sums up the whole discography of the band in a matter of seconds; maybe suggesting that the band wants to move on to other things with “and now this new era has come to an end”. One of the singles and the next track, 'Hate Creation' is a heavier track, with lots of nice riffs and expert drumming to compliment the music. This song really shows the listener that Whitechapel are able to use the lead guitar in standard tuning very well, and create some nice solos to go over the top of the downtuned chugging rhythm. Although the instrumentation of this album is excellent, I was most impressed with Phil Bozeman's extremely varied vocals. He seems to have truly mastered the art; and combines the fast paced vocals that are heard in tracks like 'Possession' with his trademark slow gutturals. The lyrical content impressed me too, with a strong political message in the song 'Faces'. 'I Dementia'; the other single on the album really makes you feel like you are taking a journey through a mentally ill person's mind, and the lyrics indicate the pain these people go through. Devoid is also a very interesting track, due to the fact that there are no vocals in the song and the final track of the album 'Possibilities of an Impossible Existence' is the stand out song for me, as it uses the piano intro that is heard in the opener as the outro, which is a very clever idea, and makes the listener want to start again from the beginning.
The best thing about this album for me, is that it showcases Whitechapel's talent as musicians, and it shows that you can make a strong and undisputed deathcore album without it becoming awful and cringey, like Chelsea Grin's new EP 'Evolve'.Overall, this album makes me optimistic for Whitechapel's future, as they seem to have found the perfect balance between melody and rhythm, and musicality and heaviness.