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This is The Somatic Defilement and before I state any comment on why this album is so great, let me just say that this album really does mean a lot to me, and I don't mean that sarcastically in any way. This is one of the very first extreme metal records I've ever had a huge love for and the songs themselves are mind-blowing and amazing in every aspect to me in the highest way that deathcore could reach someone. My sophomore year of high school had my heart stolen by this album, I listened to it almost every day after school and I would put it on for numerous occasions. If girls upset me, this record was there to release negative or angry emotions, of which I could just growl the lyrics out to at full blast in my bedroom. If I wanted to hear some heavy tunes to practice vocals along with, this album was also the perfect representation upon my aspiring journey to become a vocalist. And at the end of the night if I wanted a horror story, I could just settle for reading this album's lyric booklet concerning a story around the rape and murder of young women survived on by prostitution. It really does my heart right that Metal Blade is actually releasing a re-issue of this album later in this year. The memories I have with this opus are priceless.
Anyway, onto the review; The Somatic Defilement is Whitechapel's debut full-length after a signing to Candlelight Records and many local Knoxville shows later, they made an audience for themselves in the ripe year of 2007 where deathcore was just launching itself off. Whitechapel smashed into the scene with this outstanding and dark, dark debut. Focusing its entire concept on the murders committed by Jack the Ripper (heck even the name of the band is named after the district where he did the killings), the record is an audial horror story and the musicianship is a rollercoaster of brutalizing riffs, breakdowns, slams, blast beats, guttural growls (and shrieks) and most importantly; musicianship passion. The band's three guitarist compliment each other perfectly and play each one of their own parts, sometimes even having their own specific sections.
Usually I listen to the album I'm reviewing while I review it, but I am so used to this record down to its very essence, listening to it while only talking about its quality would be unnecessary.
Every song on this release is totally memorable and I can recite so many lyrics of so many of the songs. Not only have I heard this record well over 90 times, but the songs themselves just feel so right and original to their own kind. If you want a moving piece ending with an enchanting orchastral ending; the title track has that for you, if you desire full on brutal death metal-esque gurgles and shredding riffs provided by tri-guitar force? Throw on "Devirgination Studies" or "Fairy Fay". If some bits of mathcore influence in your brutal music tickle your fancy, then put on "Festering Fiesta". Speaking of that song, by the way, it feels like the band suddenly decided to become fans of Dillinger, but alas even they stated themselves that Blood Has Been Shed is one of their many influences so I can't be surprised a little hint of mathcore could be found. Also another interesting note, I would like to add, the band apparently rips off Between the Buried in Me at 2:27 on the song "Alone in the Morgue". By what I discovered, BTBAM actually play this exact part in their song "Anablephobia" but with two guitarists and a bassist playing the third note wherein Whitechapel instead play all three notes with their three guitarists. So in all, it's not so much stealing, but I guess taking a part and making it more of their own. Not a bad move at all, just wanted to make note of it.
Finally, I wanna talk about the vocals; this is the album where Phil Bozeman finally makes his big move and his voice is AMAZING. He growls, gurgles and shrieks his way to oblivion truly putting the icing on the cake of an album put around the story of the Jack the Ripper and the absolute utter horror the band displayed the story with. This record could no way be completed without his voice. All the agony, hostility and violence conducted by the lyrics of his growls is brilliance in perfection and that's the best way I can put it. Aside from every other member I've spoke of in the band right now, Kevin Lane's drumming is another thing I want to point out, although his performance is much, much better on This Is Exile, here he plays almost unstoppably good and the production around his kit is almost hand-and-hand beauty.
I would recommend this album to anyone who isn't easily scared away from extreme metal bearing down to the nitty gritty of bands such as Devourment, Bloodbath, Suicide Silence, Carnifex, Suffocation, Job for a Cowboy or The Black Dahlia Murder. This is deathcore at what seems to be its best form (at least to me) not many metal albums do for me what this record has done for me. To me, this album is about as artistic as a high budget film and I couldn't put it any better way. If you thought deathcore couldn't have original pieces or outstanding bands in its genre, you are far from right. This album will always have a special place in my metal collection.
"And now you rot..."
Whitechapel are probably the biggest band in deathcore right now, and with good reason. They're excellent! Their sound has undergone a few changes since their formation, while still staying true to the deathcore sound. Apart from a couple demos nobody cares about it started with this. A brilliant combination of brutal death metal and deathcore.
The first thing we hear is an intro with an excerpt of an interview with Jeffrey Dahmer. Serial killer samples are an obsession with brutal death metal/deathcore bands, and Whitechapel prove no different. Despite the useless intro, the album kicks off to a good start, with Phil Bozeman letting out not one, but TWO insanely low growls, with Kevin Lane showing us his blasts.
The guitar work on this release (played by 3 guitarists) is a mix of crushing breakdowns and faster and at times slightly melodic riffs. The fact there are 3 guitarists is never really shown, apart from the triple harmonised breakdown towards the end of Alone In The Morgue. This album is stuffed with breakdowns and they are very typical of the genre. Nothing you haven't heard before. However, you won't have heard it in the track before. Every breakdown in this release has small but noticeable differences. Most deathcore bands seem content with just using the same breakdown 32 times an album (Chelsea Grin), but Whitechapel know not to do this.
No bass. Not once.
Phil Bozeman is a monster vocalist. His growls are sickeningly low. However, his high vocals are pretty unspectacular, but thankfully he doesn't use them too much. His lyrics are pretty gory and violent, especially for a deathcore band. He uses some degree of medical terminology that would make Jeffrey Walker proud. However, he uses words like "fuck" and "shit" quite a lot, which is a shame, because the rest indicate he's a much more capable lyricist.
The drums are pretty much non-stop triggered to fuckery blast beats, but Kevin Lane still knows to use perfect fills during the breakdowns to stop them getting boring. The production even saves the drums from sounding sterile and lifeless. They genuinely have a heavy tone rather than just "click click click" over and over.
Overall, a brilliant start for one of deathcore and extreme metal in general's best bands. Get this if you like your deathcore with a fuckton of slam/brutal death metal influence.
I have to say This Is Exile did not fail to satisfy my metal needs. Even though it was kind of generic, I would take it anyday instead of this. I'm glad Whitechapel decided to move forward and leave their generic scene metal roots behind, but I'm pretty sure they were aiming directly to the mall when they forged this lame breakdownpallooza that has very little (if at all) death metal moments. This is The Somatic Defilement by Whitechapel.
Lyrically it's plagued with sadistic and gory elements that might remind you of Carcass or Hemorrhage and make you think they really took the time to compose these fantasy gore worshiping death metal lyrics. Also Phil Bozeman knows how to enunciate the words without going all ''grrrrrr'', and his voice doesn't sound bad at all, so this aspect is very acceptable. The only bad thins is how whiny the high pitched vocals sound.
Now, let us jump to the guitar part. Or should I say breakdown part? Yes, perfect for those moshpit kids who don't give a flying fuck about the music with low tuning and poorly executed palm muted riffs. In other words, ''chug chug chug''. They almost remind me of Thy Art Is Murder's ''Infinite Death'', being bland, generic and trendy. Musically, Whitechapel didn't put too much effort elaborating this album and instead decided to throw some random guitar leads here and there just to create the illusion of being a death metal band. Fairy Fay makes you think the song will be some punishing death metal when it starts, but after a couple of seconds more breakdowns come in, completely destroying the atmosphere.
Bass... completely unaudible.
I guess since they were just beggining and this is their very first official release, their drummer wasn't that good. You can tell by the sloppy double bass and the sloppier drum fills and chops. Just take your typical Job For A Cowboy song and take out the drummer's triggers. That's how bad they sound. Perhaps the best part is the whole album's intro. No guitars, no bas. All you can hear is blast beating while some guy describes how is it to preserve someone forever even if it's just a part of it.
Overall this is no different from other hundreds of deathcore acts out there. I gave them 15% because of how clever the intro was.
Whitechapel is one of the three major acts in the contemporary 'deathcore' genre here in the US, which, depending on which side of the 15 year old age barrier you fall, is either one of the most exciting or dreadful trends in all of extreme music. Not as fashionable as California's Carnifex, nor as evolutionary and intense as Arizona's Job for a Cowboy (on a good day), they seem to represent a more blue collar approach to the popular medium. Alas, this doesn't really translate into anything interesting musically, because the Knoxville brutes make most of the same mistakes as many of their less interesting peers, while adding nothing to the table that we weren't already sick of when metalcore turned from its waking, esoteric promise to insufferable pop inflected trash.
The Somatic Defilement seems to operate heavily around some of the most generic breakdowns the human mind can conceive. Breakdowns that were dated even as a seminal band like Earth Crisis or Hatebreed were taking off their training wheels. Add a pinch of math or djent metal influence (Meshuggah, specifically), slight passages of melodic death ala At the Gates, and dual grunt/snarl vocals that sound like your average overbearing tribute to early Carcass, Morbid Angel and Deicide, and let simmer for 32 minutes of dejected, which blows its load all too soon with almost all of its most potentially interesting tricks in the title track, which features several flighty death metal passages dispersed among numerous chug downs. "The Somatic Defilement" is like being teased with a death metal carrot down a shady alley only to be jumped by a pack of metalcore kids wearing huge pants and wallet chains.
This is not the only track that throws away its better seconds to a wasteland of mediocre mosh chugging. "Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation" cycles between a decent opening volley of technical, clinical death spasms to some Meshuggah-like riffing, and then closes with an awful, hack palm mute sequence. "Fairy Fay" gives you about 10 seconds of something brisk before it too segues into the gutter, though there's a nice atmosphere as the lyrics bounce over the mutes into the bridge sequence. "Alone in the Morgue" teases us once more with its intense double bass driven old school death metal riff, sort of a mesh of Suffocation and Pestilence, but then erupts with some choppy, uninspiring riffs and guitar squeals before...you guessed it, another flatulent break down heavy on the palm muting, which completely strangles the momentum.
It's pretty unfortunate, because you can tell if these guys could stop fucking around and further some of their better ideas, they'd manifest into at least an average brutal/tech death metal outfit. Granted, that in itself is not for everyone, but personally I'd find it more compelling than what often seems a ceaseless tirade forged to sate the lowest common denominator of metal and hardcore fans; the mosh tyrant who couldn't give two shits about music, just a free chance to beat on people without spending a night in the slammer. Whitechapel do pen some pretty sadistic lyrics about molestation, murder and sexual malpractice, so in this way they're not a far cry from your typical gore or rape fantasy death metal element, with a slightly more psychotic spin, but the music doesn't even come close to building to a climax before it constantly lets you down with its shallow, vapid grooving and 'tough' sounding death/core vocals.
And now for the sentence that will destroy all my credibility: this album is actually a great deathcore album. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. Now, anyway, I know how we all think of deathcore as "sloppily executed", "gay", and "disgraceful". To an extent, I can actually agree. I, too, hate my music filled with such bullshit as "breakdowns", "pig squeals", and "br00tality", and I think anyone who enjoys music simply for those three factors should be anally impaled on a stick covered in barbed wire. However, Whitechapel have found the best combination with this album. It's br00tal enough to appeal to the scene kids, but it still has the actual elements that real metalheads will love.
Looking from a moderate distance away, Whitechapel (or their first album, I should say) is semi-brutal deathcore. I've heard people declare that Whitechapel has "black metal" influence, citing the vocals and their screams, but to that I say fucking bullshit. More on this subject later. But basically, this album has about everything right. There are a few awkward parts in the music, but overall, this is great. The guitars make great riffs, the drummer definitely knows his shit, and the vocalist is just shocking.
Let's start with that guy, the vocalist, okay? If deathcore ever had a wedding for whatever reason (perhaps marrying emo and becoming the gayest hybrid genre on Earth, emo-death?), Phil Bozeman would be the "best man"...literally. This guy is definitely the most talent that has come out of deathcore thus far. His growls beat all but the most brutal death metal vocals, and they have the natural gurgle that simply makes them sickeningly awesome. This guy could fit great into a brutal death metal band, and I promise you no one would be complaining. Sometimes, though (particularly, when his voice is raised almost halfway), his voice leans just a bit too close to the "I'm awesome, dude!" side of deathcore. His gutturals are just amazing, though. Listen to "The Somatic Defilement" at 0:22. Some would say that he sounds like a fucking toilet; I say "Isn't that basically what brutal death metal aims for in the vocal department?" His highs are high and raw, but for God's sake, men, this is not signs of a "black metal influence". Black metal screams are raspy, and full of Satan-loving hate. These are comparatively clean, and they're hateful, all right, but you can tell it's a different kind of hate. A bit leaning towards "I'm going to stick your hand in a blender". Either way, blackened or not, these highs are good. The only place where I absolutely despise them are at 0:58 in "Festering Fiesta". Tell me that doesn't "scream" (hurr hurr) Suicide Silence. These guys were trying to escape the grip of typical deathcore in this album as a general rule, but it appears they got pulled back in for a few gay emo seconds. They're not as good as they could be (honestly, these would be better if they WERE black metal screams, as they would fit better with the melody of the guitars), but they appear to have been vocalized exactly as the singer desired, and thus the vocals are a success overall. Sometimes the vocals are layered together, like at the end of "Articulo Mortis" where the highs and lows collaborate to say "And then you rot", and it has potential to send chills down the listener's spine.
Although you won't notice it by ear, there are three guitarists taking part in the riffs on this album. This is the only part that I think is just stupid, because you'll never hear more than two of them playing at once. But besides that, this band makes quite good riffs. Many of them are focused mainly on a mix of distortion and brutality, and melody. A few standout ones to look for are the riff after the intro of "Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation", the one proceeding the intro of "Devirgination Studies", or the beginning of "Alone In The Morgue". The breakdowns are probably the best you'll hear in the world of breakdowns. Honestly, that's not saying much. The breakdowns aren't typical -core shit for the most part, though. They're mostly fast, technical, and they have the decency to stop the music before the breakdown commences so it's not entirely terrible. Some are slow beyond belief, but even then, the band makes the breakdowns interesting because of the tuning in their guitars (the downtuned, slightly quirky factor makes the breakdowns more tolerable than, say, Suicide Silence, who are downtuned but just boring), because there is usually a constant cymbal echoing throughout the song, and because more often than not there's an instrumental or ambient noise behind them, like 1:43 in "Devirgination Studies". I hear people talking about how this album uses the breakdowns excessively. For one, yes, every song has a breakdown, but it's usually no more than two, and it's usually short. For two, have you heard Whitechapel's follow-up to this album? It's literally half-composed of breakdowns, which is more than can be said for this album. Like most deathcore albums, however, the bassist is nowhere to be found on this entire composition. I always joke that they do that because they're idiots and they don't know how to play an instrument. But if the guitarists are any indication, this guy has talent, so he needs to stop letting his instrument get tuned out of the album's mixing process.
The drummer is probably the most talented face in deathcore (except for maybe JFAC's drummer, but I only realized how good he was when he started playing death metal). The set itself sounds pleasurable: the bass pedal sounds like a muted snare, and the snare sounds just a bit silenced and tapered. The crash sounds dry and flat, but the other cymbals have a desired "ding" to them that fits well with the music. He plays fills mostly with the bass pedals (and he makes some really cool rhythms with them, I might add), but he uses the whole goddamn kit at times. Not a drum nor a cymbal is untouched in this album. His works may sometimes be simplistic, but these moments are quite outweighed by the times he's being technical with himself. Want an example? Just listen to the riff of "Ear to Ear" at 1:41, where he's blasting almost like Inferno himself in excess of 200 beats per minute. Later in this song, we see he can be technical with himself while slowing down a bit, and the result is almost godly.
The lyrics are great. Although Whitechapel's other two albums are random ranting on religion with a third-grader's vocabulary, they have quite a way with words here. It's probably the only time I've heard gutting, raping, and overall destruction of decency being put into a form that was beautiful. ("Pass the tissues, please... *sniffle*") Their vocabulary is quite rife with words that make spelling bee participants cringe and writers start using these five-dollar gems, like "suppuration", "abattoir", "inimical", "ingurgitate", and "zygoma". They also know quite well how to write lines about rape without sounding like a sexual pervert or an idiot: "As she chokes and gargles spit/ I amputate her salty clitoris". Again, these lyrics are performed by a deathcore band, but I feel this element of theirs could find their place in a different genre (in this case, goregrind).
This is the best deathcore that will ever sprout from the face of the Earth. Although most of the genre's offspring is a failure, some break through the membrane of horrendousness into mediocrity. This album went past that, however. I think it's safe to say that Whitechapel's full-length will never be touched in terms of deathcore. As Whitechapel have shown, even they can't come near topping this album. They can only sit back, look, and reminisce at the masterpiece they created back in the year of 2007.
Whitechapel, a band that has earned countless fans in and outside of the walls of the Deathcore genre. I normally run like the plague to escape bands of this genre, but I gave these guys a chance. I’ve always said that the reason I don’t listen to Deathcore isn't because it’s Deathcore, rather I don’t listen to it because I think the majority of Deathcore bands are abominable, breakdown starved, shit mongering, clones. After making a statement like that, I couldn’t exactly refuse to listen to this album when it was recommended to me, at least not if the reason was based on the fact that it was Deathcore without looking like a total hypocrite.
I approached this album expecting nothing more than the average Deathcore, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The riffs are more than segues to breakdowns here, in fact, they’re the main attraction. The majority of the riffs aren’t particularly –core related, instead they seem to be far closer to the Death Metal side of the fence. While they aren’t going to be confused for a Nile riff, they have just the right amount of –core influence to make them original Death Metal riffs, rather than tired Deathcore riffs. The riffs are generally heavy, but there are quite a few melodic sections which help to add some contrast and show off a bit more of the guitarists' skills. The best one of these mini solos is in Festering Fiesta.
Unfortunately, all is not perfect from a riff based sense. Whitechapel’s riffs barely resemble Deathcore at all, and they were evidently afraid of being ostracized from the steaming turd of a genre. In an attempt to get back into their Neanderthal friend’s good graces, they resorted to a simple tactic. They packed every song to the brim with breakdowns. These aren’t the well thought out breakdowns of a band like The Red Chord, and they don’t pack the pummeling brutality of a Slam band like Devourment. These are the lowest of the low; these are the dreaded traditional Deathcore breakdowns. There are a handful of good breakdowns to be found on this album (Articulo Mortis, Fairy Fay) but they are rare and far between. The rest of the album is filled with the generic, soulless and horrid breakdowns that plague a band like Waking the Cadaver. (Okay, they aren’t THAT bad) Every song has at least two or three breakdowns, and they drag the quality of the music down into the gutter in quite a few cases. They disrupt any kind of flow that the album might have possessed, and prevent the majority of the songs from being enjoyed straight through without a wince every few seconds. To get to the interesting and unique riffing, you have to wade through miles of knee deep breakdown consistency shit. While a breakdown once in a while can propel a song to new (and brutal) heights, they are overused to a sickening extent here.
The pacing of the album is generally good, and it doesn't get too repetitive due to its short length. Unfortunately, there is one slightly baffling pacing blunder which occurs very early on in the album. The first track (which also happens to be the title track) ends in a truly perplexing fashion.The end comprises of some classical music. While on an individual track basis it works as a great ending, I think it was a bad idea to place it at the end of the first track. It felt like it would have worked far better at the end of the album, and reset the tension levels back to what they had been before the title track had begun.
The guitars are generally done well. They aren’t particularly technical, but they don’t need to be. They are suitably heavy when necessary, and can also be quite melodic at times. There are quite a few parts where two of the three guitars are creating a harmony and this offers good contrast to the standard brutality of the album. Unfortunately, the guitars aren’t flawless. This isn’t due to any faults in their playing, but rather due to the fact that (for some idiotic reason) there are three of them. Two would have been more than enough for any of the harmonies presented here, and more than enough for any of the standard riffs or breakdowns. The third guitar never causes any specific problems, but it completely drowns out the bass which sacrifices an extra degree of heaviness that the band might have been able to achieve without it and it offers no positives to make up for this injury.
The drummer is head and shoulders above almost any other Deathcore drummer I’ve heard. He doesn’t rely on blast beats as a crutch, instead he uses them only when it would fit the music and add an extra degree of drive and heaviness. Quite often he uses rapid paced double bass drumming, similar to a band like Nile (although he never approaches George Kollias in speed). During the breakdowns they manage to be quite heavy and are one of the few redeeming aspects of these parts. His tone is also quite good, and escapes the flat and powerless drum tone that countless other Deathcore drummers use. The only exception is the hi hat, which, while not bad is sometimes grating. Still, the only example where it actually annoyed me was in the title track and it isn’t a particularly big problem.
The vocals are another standout here. Instead of the standard (and atrocious) Deathcore pig squeals, these are very varied and always done well. They range from a lower guttural (similar to Dying Fetus), to a more traditional death growl, to a higher shriek. The lyrics are very well thought out and the album is based off of the exploits of Jack the Ripper. While some liberties are taken, they follow the story quite well and are suitably twisted. They are somewhat understandable too, while you won’t hear every word they are far from the unintelligible gurgles of a band like Cock and Ball Torture.
Overall this is very good for a Deathcore album. If it were not for the breakdowns, it would probably score in the seventies. Still, due to their atrocious presence, its score is unfortunately dragged down. Despite this, I urge you to check this band out if you, like me, generally dislike Deathcore. This band managed to avoid instant deletion (unlike the majority of their fellows) and I will check out their upcoming album, which, hopefully will tone done the suffocating amount of breakdowns. Standout tracks include: Ear to Ear, Festering Fiesta, Articulos Mortis, and Fairy Fay.
I obtained this album for quite interesting purposes. After a scathing MySpace rant delivered by one of the anti-core metalheads, calling more or less every band to become somewhat popular after 2005 "JFAC-Worship," I checked out a few of the bands that were apparently so horrible. One of the better bands I found was Whitechapel.
The influence of Job For a Cowboy and similar bands is evident, but there is also a considerable amount of slam death influences (I know a lot of people seem to have strong opinions about slam, almost as much as deathcore, but it applies), evident on such tracks as "Viscer Exiser." There is also influence from some older Death and Black Metal, as seen a bit on "Fairy Fay."
The band does have 3 guitars and a bass, but truthfully, two of these could be dropped. The only situation the third guitar has any use is continuing the breakdown during the harmonized solo on "Ear to Ear." The band talk about further harmonies, but they are not highlighted on this album.
The drums are a refreshing change from most deathcore, at least as far as tone. No deathcore band would be caught without a double-bass pedal, and most of them have horribly tinny and fake-sounding drums. Whitechapel finally had the common sense to stuff some goddamn blankets in the drum and get a lower, 'thud'-like tone. The drumming itself isn't much different from the rest of the popular deathcore bands these days: Blast, slam, blast, slam, breakdown. Horribly stereotypical, but it goes with the music well.
If you're looking for revolutionary lyrics (though the Jack The Ripper theme is interesting and while gory, at least a little more unique than most bands), experimental music, extreme technicality or a true progressive sound, this isn't your album. But if you're only looking for a little solid deathcore, The Somatic Defilement will not disappoint.
After thoroughly listening to this album, I've decided to change my rating.
Many many people on this site are aware of the mediocrity of the "deathcore" genre. From such acts as Job for a Cowboy, Bring Me the Horizon, Suicide Silence, and other embarrassing excuses for bands. But when it comes to music, Whitechapel are quite the contrary. They are not the typical deathcore band with the scene kid hair and open-string breakdowns. These guys mean business.
The Somatic Defilement is in no way revolutionary or even near groundbreaking, but provides the listener with well made deathcore. It's really hard to say you like a deathcore band but for many death metal fans, this is a guilty pleasure. Now to get to the music. There are three guitarists, but this isn't very noticeable at all due to the lack of solos and chuggy/slam riffs. Rarely, you can hear triple harmonization. Now to the vocals...deathcore is known for its typical shit faux-lows and screams. Whitechapel implement screams but in a way such as Benighted. The vocalist does perform lows very well and has a wide ranged voice. The drumming is typical. Blast and then breakdown and then slam groove.
Many death metal influences are found in this album. Such as the somewhat grind part of "Festering Fiesta" and the brutal death metal influences in "Vicer Exciser". A lot of this shit is catchy, beware. The lyrics are borderline pathological and are pretty cool. This album DOES have many breakdowns. If you can tolerate them, then you will be fine. Other than that, with crushing rolls (The Somatic Defilement) to moshing d-beats (Vicer Exciser) to extreme lows (Fairy Fay). The Somatic Defilement is a satisfying album.
If you can tolerate breakdowns, repetition, and deathcore screams then purchase this album.
Highlights: Vicer Exciser, Festering Fiesta, The Somatic Defilement
Some cool riffs +
Good drumming +
Good vocals +
Cool lyrics +
Lame cover art -
Some lame breakdowns -
Whitechapel - The Somatic Defilement, I've head a lot about this release from friends. Two of them went as far as to claim this as their album of the year. I've listened to the album in its entirety twice now and I'm not impressed.
The general sound here is mid to slow tempo deathcore, wit a heavy focus on slow breakdowns. There is a high variance of vocal styles, unfortunately however most of the vocals are annoying and unconvincing. All of the deliveries reek of Doom EP worship. The Domm Ep influence can actually be heard on most of the album as a whole either directly or indirectly.
The Guitars (all three of them) have a generically heavy sound, managing to be distorted but to sound too sterile at the same time. As for the guitar parts themselves, they are allegedly played by 3 guitars, but it seems to me that a reasonably skilled guitar player could play 60-70% of this without double tracking. I guess the other guitars are there so they can chug extra hard on the breakdowns. In the more melodic parts some a hint of At The Gates worship sneaks in ala The Black Dahlia Murder. Guitar solos? Don't hold your breath, the only thing here is a little toned down melodic cheese in between breakdowns. No solos proper. Also most of the breakdowns lose all of their impact due to being telegraphed out so far that you'd need to be retarded not to predict when they're coming up.
The drum performance here is one of the most emotionally desolate that I have ever heard. Absolutely no individuality or feeling is conveyed at all. Fortunately the drummer often drops down to half time cymbal hits over either 8th notes or just slow speed groove beats, when he does this he is easily ignored.
The bass may as well be non-existent most of the time due to being buried under 3 guitars, but I suppose it adds to the heaviness of a few of the breakdowns. No real complaints here due to simply not being able to here it for better or worse.
All in all, a few of the breakdowns are satisfyingly heavy, and this is also far from the worst deathcore album I've head. Still, there is virtually nothing this album has to offer that hasn't been done a hundred times better. Not recommended to anyone who doesn't have a razor fringe and a septum piercing.
I honestly can't say enough about this album. In a genre so watered down and overdone recently, this band stands to take the Deathcore genre as its own. Personally I hate the term "deathcore," as most of the bands within the genre get cast aside as a scene band, or a fake band. Whitechapel are not one of these bands, and I honestly hope more people see through the label they've been stamped with.
The album starts off like most, with an intro and a sadistic quote that I can only assume is from a serial killer or a movie. Right off the bat into the first song, you get your face ripped off by a triple guitar assault and the brutal vocals of Phil Bozeman.
Three guitarists in a band of this style is VERY unnecessary (much less any other style), but the band actually pulls it off. Most riffs in the album are triple harmonies, or in some cases, 2 guitars harmonizing and one following the bass line with palm mutes.
The drumming throughout this album is tight and concise. While the tempo doesn't change much, the drums never seem to get redundant or boring.
Where to start with the vocals... Bozeman has a great range, which goes from extremely low (Grindcore-esque lows), a midranged death growl, and a raspy high. The lyrical content of the entire album is literally something from the most deranged, fucked up horror film you've ever seen. Some parts are overdone, while others are executed perfectly. I'm convinced that the band uses a "Murderer's Thesaurus" that was probably written by John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer.
All in all, this album leaves me speechless. You could not ask more from a band that has been in existence only a year to date. If this band keeps up what they are doing, I firmly believe they'll be a big player in the death metal/'deathcore' genre for years to come.