Having spent several years lauded as one of the frontrunners in their genre, in 2012 Whitechapel stand as a defining force in contemporary heavy music. Building dramatically on the trademarked bludgeon of their first three releases, with Whitechapel the Tennessean sextet have inarguably delivered their most intense, dynamic, and downright hostile record to date. Drenched in atmospheric darkness, the record is also rife with gripping melodies that drag the listener in to the tumult, willing or otherwise, and across its ten tracks it is infused with an emotional depth that pointedly separates the band from the plethora of two-dimensional mosh-starters that have sprung up in their wake.
“These songs are some of the best material we have released to date, and the whole vibe of the record compelled us to self-title it,” states guitarist Alex Wade. “With every record we strive for something different – we’re always going to stay true to what Whitechapel is, but we want to evolve and do something that is fresh and engaging both for ourselves and for the people who support us.” Setting the scene with the brooding piano that prefaces the storm of frantic riffs and pulverizing drums of opener “Make It Bleed”, it is clear that Whitechapel are coming from a place of pure darkness this time out. At times teetering on the brink of despair while always primed to fight anything and everything that gets in their way, every track has its own personality, fitting perfectly alongside each other to form a breathtaking whole. From the heads down attack of “Section 8″ or the merciless “(Cult)uralist” to the apocalyptic drama of “Dead Silence” or the loping grooves of “Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence” the band put it all on the line, creating something that is as honest as it is devastating.
“There’s a lot of variety on this record – it has the fastest songs we’ve ever written on it, but it also has the slowest songs we’ve ever written, so whether you like the slower grooves of A New Era Of Corruption (2010) or the really fast riffs of This Is Exile (2008) there is something for everyone on this album,” explains Wade. “It also has a much stronger sense of dynamics, because if you’re just smashing someone over the head one hundred percent of the time it can get monotonous, and there’s more melody to it too. Some of the choruses are really dark but have so much melody you could almost sing over them – which is something we would never do, but having that dynamic there is exciting to us.” Having grown displeased over time with A New Era Of Corruption, primarily due to the fact it was comprised of songs written by individual members rather than as a shared effort, the band rectified this with Whitechapel, and Wade believes this collaboration plays a large part in what sets the record apart from its predecessor. “In the credits of the last record it was like this guy wrote this song, and then this guy wrote that song, whereas there’s so much collaboration on this record it wasn’t worth going through it to try and list it in the credits, it is the product of our efforts. I think that’s cool, and it’s good to know that when we work together we’re at our finest.”