Whitechapel
Mark of the Blade


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trevor James USER (25 Reviews)
June 24th, 2016 | 170 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whitechapel right the ship.

Though Whitechapel have been making waves since they first launched themselves into the deathcore scene almost a decade ago, it wasn’t until 2012’s self-titled release that they truly began to find their sound. By doing away with the excessive breakdowns and over-the-top lyrics of their first three albums, Whitechapel was undeniably a deathcore album but lacked much of what made the genre so difficult to take seriously. They further pursued this direction on follow-up Our Endless War, and though it marked the band’s tightest compositions to date, much of the aggression and heaviness that made the band memorable in the first place was absent. Fans and critics alike screamed “sellout,” and Whitechapel’s path forward was shrouded in uncertainty.

Mark of the Blade is an attempt to bridge the gap between the more commercial sensibilities of Our Endless War and the unadulterated hostility of the albums that came before it. The sextet’s trademark groove is more pronounced than ever, yet heaviness never trumps the overlying sense of melody and cohesion. Additionally, Phil Bozeman’s performance is considerably less pedestrian than on Our Endless War, utilizing a variety of harsh vocal patterns and even a few instances of surprisingly well-executed clean singing. Opener “The Void” is perfectly exemplifies the album’s sound, combining the tried-and-true deathcore formula with addictive death metal riffing, topped off with a superb guitar solo. In fact, the solos that Mark of the Blade has to offer are outstanding across the board and add a great deal to the overall package.

Improved soloing and occasional clean vocals aside, however, this is unmistakably a Whitechapel album. Not a whole lot has changed as far as songwriting is concerned, but the general quality of each individual track is clearly a step up from the band’s previous work. There’s more than enough variety to keep every song from flowing into one another to the point of monotony, quite a feat as far as deathcore is concerned. “Brotherhood,” a surprisingly engaging fully instrumental number, thoroughly demonstrates the band’s improved technical proficiency; Hell, many of the tracks even have a good deal of audible bass, a rarity in the genre. “Dwell in the Shadows” and “Venomous” are without a doubt two of Whitechapel’s best songs to date, contributing to the album’s stellar back half.

Lyrically, Mark of the Blade is nothing special, but as a whole it’s adequate enough to not detract from any other aspects of the music. “Elitist Ones” is the most interesting song on the album from a lyrical standpoint, serving as an attack on music elitists who judge bands and fans solely based on their genres of choice. I suppose it’s kind of a silly concept for a metal song, but it’s unique and sincere enough to earn a pass in my eyes. “Bring Me Home” and “Decennium” are bound to be the most controversial tracks on the record due to their use of clean vocals, but in the context of the album neither seems out of place. They’re not the best songs that Mark of the Blade has to offer (although Decennium is up there), but both are perfectly respectable additions to the band’s repertoire.

There was a great deal of pressure on Whitechapel to right the ship after the disappointing Our Endless War, and Mark of the Blade succeeds in doing just that. Boasting some of the sextet’s best and most diverse material to date, it’s a culmination of their entire career and a testament to the potential of deathcore as a genre. Minor lyrical nitpicks aside, Mark of the Blade is an immensely enjoyable release that’s sure to create many a living room mosh pit this summer.



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user ratings (275)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
June 24th 2016


3576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this.

Constructive criticism welcomed as always.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2016


9462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solid review. Album is solid too I guess. Didn't exactly have high expectations though.

Tunaboy45
June 24th 2016


16737 Comments


This band is pretty dull but glad people are enjoying this.

bloc
June 24th 2016


55424 Comments


Wish these guys would go the way JFAC did. I always get those two bands mixed up, but ever since JFAC started kicking ass they're pretty easy to tell apart

Digging: Everything But the Girl - Amplified Heart

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2016


9462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I always get those two bands mixed up, but ever since JFAC started kicking ass they're pretty easy to tell apart




This makes more sense than it should lol.

MalleusMaleficarum
June 24th 2016


16374 Comments


I'll have to check out The Void later to see how much these BrOS have changed

dbizzles
June 25th 2016


13159 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Was going to comment, but wrote a sound off instead. Decent review.

Digging: Rusted Shut - Rehab

Storm In A Teacup
June 25th 2016


26555 Comments


Never listened to any albums but I'll try this out. Theyve always killed it at festivals.

dbizzles
June 25th 2016


13159 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Not sure this is your cup of tea, fml.

Faraudo
June 25th 2016


2925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great fucking jam.

Digging: The National - I Am Easy to Find

HisBelovedMaker
June 25th 2016


174 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

What the fuck is this? Phil are you high? Did it take him like an hour to write the lyrics for the entire album?

Ebola
June 25th 2016


3576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

In all fairness, lyricism has never been Whitechapel's greatest strength. I'm personally just glad Phil stopped writing about raping and dismembering women.

PumpBoffBag
June 25th 2016


938 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

really, this that good? especially since OEW was a bag of wank

torts
June 25th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

if albums as good as the first song, solid 3.5

torts
June 25th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

nevermind this is pretty horrendous lmao

torts
June 25th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

tremors sounds like a 5fdp song wow cannot believe this is the same band that made this is exile

Aftertheascension
June 25th 2016


3565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos.



Good album. Digging the cleans and it's not just a loudness contest like in OEW.

HisBelovedMaker
June 25th 2016


174 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

tremors sounds like a 5fdp song wow cannot believe this is the same band that made this is exile [2]

Ebola
June 25th 2016


3576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Tremors is one of the weaker tracks on here for sure, but there's no way this is a 1

Spec
June 25th 2016


35678 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Fucking awful.



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