“I, Dementia” is actually the fourth song on the release, and it wasn’t really the most promising of experiences when I heard it. The slower pace was enjoyable for what it is, and the really heavy guitars definitely sent chills down my spine. The overall pace can be deceptive, but it isn’t a breakdown from start to finish. The main gripe is the guttural vocals having that higher pitch to them (no, not the background rasps) and it really feels a little contradictory to the atmosphere they are trying to put together. It would really be nice to have a deeper growl, but in the end, it’s still an interesting track, even with the breakdown towards the end that, thankfully, is not just a simple one chord performance littered with large gaps. Unfortunately, at the time of doing this article, it does seem as though the stream cuts out before the track actually ends…
But, having heard that song, I admit my expectations are a little different going into the album, but it really didn’t prepare me for what I heard next. “Make it Bleed” kicks the release off, and holy hell… This kicks ass. Granted this song still falls in the Deathcore category, but the heavily melodic opening really gives off a catchy, memorable, melancholic tone that takes a bit to blast into blistering Death Metal with a really brutal attitude behind it. The breakdown isn’t that spectacular, but it greatly fits the overall intensity and flow of the song, as well as the extended, but still somewhat simpler guitar solo. This is a huge change of pace for the band, and I’m dying to hear more.
“Hate Creation” doesn’t really start off with that same intensity or unique experience, but it wastes no time going into machine gun double bass kicks and catchy lead riffs during some of the bridges. There are some slower moments that bring traditional Whitechapel chugging, as well as slower sections that are far from a typical breakdown, adding some melodic atmosphere to the mix with clean restrained vocals that end up more like a whisper. This builds up into the actual breakdown that is just soaked with aggression, immediately making me want to run to the nearest living thing and start a mosh in the most ruthless of manners, as does the return to the machinegun blasting drum work shortly after. The closing really amps things up, and even incorporates those deeper guttural vocals I wished “I, Dementia” had, perfectly suited to the Brutal Death Metal genre.
Next up is “(Cult)uralist.” It doesn’t really boast much energy at it’s start, and you can easily tell it’s the gradual decrease in the group’s edge to move towards the slower “I, Dementia,” as well as better incorporate their typical sound. It isn’t the most enthralling, and some of the groovier Whitechapel riffs do stand out as catchy amid the random flurries of slightly chaotic Death Metal blasts and brutality. The build up to the breakdown is paid off during the performance, all coming closer to the traditional material the band is known for, but also working well with a dismal atmosphere that comes out of nowhere during the guitar solo. Much of the time I found my head banging along, and can easily see many fans of Death Metal in general doing the same.
Skipping past “I, Dementia” because I have my first impression from it already, “Section 8” slams right in with a great deal of energy and mid-tempo riffs that are simply punishing. The groovier riffs are back once more with a very dominant bass presence that again found my head banging along with great force. Unfortunately, the breakdown here didn’t really make me do the same, though it still carried that same deep aggressive tone with it. Given how early it hit, I had a feeling there would be more like it coming up. Of course, this does happen, and the second one actually is a lot more enjoyable than the first, being far more intense and gratifying overall, allowing the natural build and progression to the song’s conclusion to be far more engaging until it’s rather sudden ending.
I couldn’t help but spend time with one more track. “Faces” slams right in with some great energy and a little bit of melody in the mix, but still an overall crushing intensity from the deeper chords. The energy pumped right through me and I immediately started banging my head along with it. There are times where the pace does slow to a mid-tempo, but those passages still carry that enthusiasm from the start, just in slightly technical terms. The bass domination continues here, much like on the other tracks, and it really adds to the overall bludgeoning Death Metal. The breakdown towards the end actually ends up feeling more like a burden than anything, but coming out of it causing a pretty swift build back to the intense start with more machinegun-like bass kicks that eventually shift into a slightly less energetic bit prior to a closing breakdown that isn’t much, but suitable to the end of the song.
I don’t have the time to hear the last four songs right now, and unfortunately it kills me. Whitechapel seriously ripped my face right off with this album so far, and the more unique approach is far more enjoyable than anything else they have done before. This is perhaps the band’s crowning achievement thusfar, and even those who didn’t like their material in the past won’t be able to deny this is an exceptional effort. It’s actually a huge letdown that “I, Dementia” is the first song off the release to go public, but it makes sense as it does play into the group’s established fanbase. But, this tight and tenacious recording has a lot more going for it that even their most dedicated of loyalists are going to cream their pants over. That is, if they can handle it. Excited? Hell yeah I’m excited, and you definitely should be too. Whitechapel isn’t so much a new album, but a reanimation of their sound, weaving new life once more in a quickly growing stagnant musical style their name was forged from.
Article based on digital review material provided by Metal Blade Records.