Metal Blade Records
June 8th, 2010
Release length: 41:21
Like many other Whitechapel releases that came before it, A New Era of Corruption has a pretty clear focus on being a bass heavy album. With a cleaner production, it definitely helps to add some extra edge to the release, especially given the three guitarist formula the band has. It does allow the music to become simply crushing at times, regardless of whether it’s simpler or a little more complex thne usual. The vocals here aren’t the most impressive sadly, and border between a mid-pitch guttural attempt, and pig squeeling, with the occassional higher rhasp thrown in to add variety and richness to the mix. It’s not bad, but doesn’t match the overall impact the music makes with the deeper, heavier sound. The drums, however, do a good job as far as their quality goes. The bass kicks surprisingly aren’t a loud click like you’d expect, but more a loud thud that does work out for the recording against some decent cymbols and thick snares. Clearly, the audio has it’s pros, and it has some cons to go with it.
But in the end it all has to do with what the band does with this heavier sound, which unfortunately ends up not being much. Most of A New Era of Corruption ends up being mid-paced tracks, or just slower tracks that feel like they are suspended in water and moving as fast as the force allows them to go. “Devolver” kicks the album off on a bit of a faster note as far as the drumming goes, having a speedier bass kick performance against simple guitar riffs that end up just chugging along before going into a creepy, eerily melodic chorus that comes out of nowhere and, while still as simple as the rest of the track, it works in the band’s favor. But the biggest flaw here is that the song has no real bite to it, or catchier presence to even make you consider voluntarily banging your head along. Some of the songs that follow after this one at least end up having some chords that are catchy, such as “Breeding Violence,” which takes some stronger chugging Deathcore riffs and puts them into the track in a manner which amps up the heaviness a little more thanks to an underlying groove to the brutality. The same can be said for “Reprogrammed to Hate,” though the catchier riffs here are not quite as strong as “Breeding Violence,” but you’ll find yourself bobbing your head along at times. The guitar work here stands out a bit on this record too as it takes a better Death Metal approach then typical minimal Deathcore, and honestly, for Whitechapel, the guitar solo here is pretty impressive.
These groove-heavy songs really are the better offerings from Whitechapel, and really show off the most promise for the band. But one of the more positive things to take note of here is the band’s lack of lazy breakdowns. Yes, they are handles as the simple one note style common to Deathcore, but at least it feels like it’s doing something in the song instead of a cymbol crash or random chord played followed by five to seven seconds of silence, if not worse. This allows these mid-to-late game entries that are catchier or even atmospherically creepy to really shine. While these breakdowns may not really be the most must have elements of this album, or Deathcore in general to fans of the style, but when they are used on hard hitting tracks like “Unnerving,” as well as even the aforementioned ” it clearly works with the haunting material that does appear. However, this track does end up having one of the lamest breakdowns on the release, and as you reach the end you can’t help but feel a little bored of the song during those moments. Whitechapel have a problem of going in and out of solid Death Metal to overly simple Deathcore, though not usually as bad in their breakdowns, but this track offers both promise and frustration as the two worlds mesh and make the listener just wish for a solid Death Metal performance instead of a “-core” experience regardless of whether you’re a fan of Deathcore or not.
There’s another five tracks to A New Era of Corruption, but sadly there’s nothing much really worth discussing about them. While the songs are not that bad, it’s just generic simple chugging Deathcore with some Death Metal riffs thrown in on occassion. The one thing that works well about these is that some of the tracks end up being linked together through atmospheric ambience, though at a strict minimum and never seems to appear in the song again after the closing of the previous track to lead into the next song, such as with “Prayer of Mockery” into “Murder Semon,” then into “Necromechanical.” These tracks are not really bad, nor are they filler, but for the most part are simply uninspiring outside that heavier sound and the additional atmospheric sections mentioned earlier, as well as thanks to some of the haunted riffs that can appear in the song.
When it comes to Whitechapel, there’s plenty of solid ideas used in their material. However those good intentions end up dwarfed horribly by traditional simple chugging Deathcore, and it’s just sad to see. A New Era of Corruption does have some strong tracks that show a good mixture of Death Metal and Deathcore, but around the half way mark there’s nothing too noteworthy or even that unique about what is being played. There’s no genuine filler material, but the slow chugging pace, small handful of bad breakdowns, and the fact that some songs can start feeling repetitive over time really make this album just feel like any other modern Deathcore offering. Fans of the style who think this approach is the greatest thing to happen to Metal will absolutely eat it up, but when you sit down and examine exactly what Whitechapel is doing here, you realize that aside the additional guitar, there’s nothing too good about this approach no matter how many other bands this group may have inspired.
01. Devolver – 3:59
02. Breeding Violence – 3:20
03. The Darkest Day of Man – 3:00
04. Reprogrammed to Hate – 3:46
05. End of Flesh – 4:04
06. Unnerving – 3:39
07. A Future Corrupt – 2:57
08. Prayer of Mockery – 3:35
09. Murder Sermon – 3:59
10. Necromechanical – 4:21
11. Single File to Dehumanization – 4:43
|Overall Score: 5.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.