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So since I loved The Somatic Defilement as much as I did, I decided to check into Whitechapel's older shit. And wow. I've always called The Somatic Defilement the heaviest deathcore album on the face of the Earth, and now I hear this, and I'm rescinding what I said before. This is - officially - the most brutal deathcore album I have ever heard. I hate to call myself a liar, but I deserve it.
"Why?", some of you may be asking. Well, the whole general sound is a lot rawer. No ambience, no holds barred, no bullshit. Just raw, uncensored, death metal riffs. The production is a bit rough, but it's quite good, with an extremely enjoyable crunch sound to the guitar. The breakdowns are stripped bare - just the way they should be. Think of it as Exhumed succumbing to -core.
The guitars sound pretty much the same compared to the way they would on the full-length, taking the half-assed production into account. Most of the guitar riffs are a bit simplified, but that's not to say they're bad. Actually, since they retain the energy and hectic ballistics and they're using less energy, all the power to them. Believe it or not, there is an actual solo in the middle of "Ear to Ear"; solos were entirely absent on the full-length. Another improvement is the breakdowns. I have said time and time again that I generally don't like the chug-fests. However, the breakdowns that were good on the full-length, have turned GREAT here. The outro breakdown for "Ear to Ear" has amplified tenfold in intensity, and yet it still doesn't sound stupid. One thing, though: I still don't think there is a bassist in this band. It might just be due to the production standards, but still.
The drummer is quite the likeable guy. Derek Martin left the band after this demo, and he will be missed. His beats are constantly driven by a 4/4 cymbal beat while his feet perform in another time signature...Meshuggah, anyone? A lot of his beats use the "galloping" technique with the foot pedal (intro to "Alone in the Morgue"), and it turns out quite nicely. And Phil Bozeman...Strangely enough, however much I like this guy's vocals, he's probably the main thing bringing this demo down. Why? For one, he decided to use pig squeals here. And quite frankly, he can't do them right. They're not the wet, clean squeals: these are dry, painful-sounding, and unforgiving - not a plus. For two, his screams are a bit undeveloped and more free-range than tamed and tuned. It sounds as if he didn't really care either way how it sounded. His growls, though...They are fucking amazing. On the demos, Phil is going at least as low as Matt Harvey or Karl Sanders, without a gurgle, but low and devastating. I can only imagine how riled the scene kids would get around 2006 when he let loose one of his growls in the middle of the mosh pit.
If somehow you can get a hold of this record, I would highly recommend you do so. This is another great record by a once-great band and you'd be a fool to ignore it.