Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Tennessee’s Whitechapel have come a long way since their Carcass-worshipping debut, THE SOMATIC DEFILEMENT, came out in 2006. Heading in a more deathcore-leaning direction with THIS IS EXILE, the new CD finds the band sharing space with Suicide Silence, Job For A Cowboy and Despised Icon in an ever-growing genre that borrows heavily from bands like Suffocation, Deicide and Aborted. These are young guys and despite their age, they certainly brutalize the hell out of this record. There is nothing groundbreaking on THIS IS EXILE but for those who like a little breakdown with their blastbeat, Whitechapel is definitely a band that should be on your radar.
Foregoing the gross-out gore-grind lyrics that youthful rebellion dictated for THE SOMATIC DEFILEMENT, vocalist Phil Bozeman focuses more on real life, misanthropy and religion this time out. Bozeman’s guttural growls will have many doing double-takes over the similarities to Deicide’s Glen Benton. Musically, the tracks here are pretty formulaic, following the blast-chug-blast-chug-breakdown-blast school of deathcore. Given the fact the Whitechapel lineup boasts THREE guitarists, there really isn’t a lot of evidence to the fact on record. Maybe on stage, the three will pack more of a wallop but I was left rather limp given what should be heard with eighteen strings at their disposal. When the band locks in, though, they certainly deliver. “Eternal Refuge” and the title track really cook with the perfect balance of death metal and hardcore. Big, rumbling drums and Gabe Crisp’s rubbery bass help to execute punishing breakdowns while the Ben Savage/Alex Wade/Zach Householder guitar trio link up with some monolithic guitar runs. Drifting into black metal territory on “Daemon (The Procreated),” the band holds their own with infernal blasting and speedy, tremolo-picked riffs that do not seem forced. Even the ambient instrumental “Of Legions” manages to break up the occasional monotony that deathcore brings.
Fans of deathcore will certainly lap up THIS IS EXILE and given the fact the genre is red-hot right now, these guys are definitely in the right place at the right time. Many detractors will dismiss the album before hearing a note based solely on the genre but the target demographic of under-eighteens and undershirt-clad tough guys have undoubtedly laid their money out for this album already given its debut on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, so more power to the band as they ride the wave.
KILLER KUTS: “This Is Exile,” “Possession,” “Exalt,” “Eternal Refuge,” “Messiahbolical”