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CRUSHING! - 100%

BlackMetal213, April 18th, 2016

Heavy death metal inspired riffs? Check! Blast beats? Check! Effective use of crushing breakdowns? Check! To the world of deathcore, Whitechapel is a band that needs no introduction. They are from Knoxville, Tennessee and have generated a lot of polarizing opinions in the realm of extreme metal. "The Somatic Defilement" was the band's first release after a couple of fairly decent demos. This is, in my opinion, their heaviest album and also their best to this date.

Whitechapel is known for incorporating three guitarists. This has sparked a fair amount of controversy among much of the general population of metal fans and because Whitechapel is a deathcore band, most people are quick to loathe them for this. I personally think these three guitarists add a great deal to the music, mainly in terms of sheer brutality. This is one of the heaviest albums ever released by a deathcore album and even competes with a lot of actual death metal bands in my opinion. There aren't a whole lot of technically impressive riffs here. Most of the song structures follow a generally similar pattern to one another, utilizing death metal riffs and the breakdowns typical in deathcore, which are, of course, enhanced a bit by the bass. Although most of the time, the third guitar detracts the bass a bit which really is not that big of a deal for me. Really, this band has created a good balance between the two and the three guitars only enhance the experience. The guitar work in the title track is probably my favorite on the entire album. From the riffs to the breakdowns, to that melodic section at the end that leads into the orchestral outro. Unfortunately, this album does lack guitar solos. I like to hear a few solos in my deathcore but in reality, that can be a very rare thing. "Festering Fiesta" contains a section that almost qualifies as a solo but it wouldn't be until the band's next album that they actually started using them somewhat. Even so, this does not degrade my opinion of the album at all, because it's just so damn good otherwise. Just listen to the crushing breakdowns in "Vicer Exciser"! Man does that song rip.

The drums follow along smoothly with the riffs and breakdowns and never deviate from the flow. There is a lot of double bass and blast beats which are very common in deathcore, thanks to the drums being heavily influenced by death metal. They don't really step outside of their comfort zone, rather they stick to similar ideas throughout the album's 32 minutes. This is nothing to worry over, however; these drums get the job done in the most efficient ways possible. This album's sole purpose is to absolutely crush you and the drums definitely contribute to that. In addition to the drums, Phil Bozeman's vocals are as brutal as ever. He uses a no BS guttural approach and on this album, he probably give his best vocal performance. Songs like the title-track contain a lot of low, evil sounding growls. He uses a mix of growls and screams but generally sticks to a lower growl, and his screams become more prominent on later albums. I much prefer his growls on here over anything. The lyrical content generally revolves around the murders committed by Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel, England. Because of his killings being gruesome in nature, the lyrics can be pretty "messed up" which adds a lot to the already brutal music. I have definitely heard worse, though. What's somewhat funny in a sick, twisted way is how a lot of his victims seemed to be prostitutes so in a way, this album is all about killing sluts. Oh, yay!

I must say this is one of the finest deathcore albums ever recorded, as well as my first Whitechapel album and one of the albums that made me realize maybe not all deathcore is crap. Really, I would recommend this to not just a fan of deathcore but a fan of death metal as well, preferably brutal death or slam. If you're a fan of deathcore, however, you probably have already heard this. If not, you are certainly missing out.