Whitechapel was formed early in 2006 in Knoxville, TN. Damn. Ten years ago. Hard to believe that it has been so long since first hearing “The Somatic Defilement” shortly after its release in 2007. Since then, Whitechapel has developed a huge, devoted fan base with their extreme brand of Deathcore Metal, made a few line up changes, released five devastating albums and landed in the top ten of the Billboard Top 200 with “Our Endless War” from 2014. Stepping up their game at every stage of their musical careers, the June 24, 2016, highly anticipated release of “Mark of the Blade” marks not only a celebration of ten years together as a band but also a musical turning point.
Forget some of the on-line whining about a “drastic changes” made in “Mark of the Blade” because, make no mistake: this is a Whitechapel album, and a damned good one at that! Yes, there is some clean singing, harmonies and melodies in place of some of the 260bmp blastbeat that has been so prevalent in past releases and an intimately personal portrait shining through the music and the lyrics that has not been seen in the past. Ode to evolution oh “flat world” ones. This is mature, self-actualized music that was obviously written from the heart and soul of the members of Whitechapel. The song list for “Mark of the Blade” is: “The Void”, “Mark of the Blade”, “Elitist Ones” (my personal favorite since I disregard musical elitism), “Bring Me Home”, “Tremors”, “A Killing Industry”, “Tormented”, “Brotherhood”, “Dwell in the Shadows”, “Venomous” and “Decennium” and is unbelievably good; one song being no less intense or moving than another from differing perspectives. From the positively themed heaviness of “The Void”, “Brotherhood” and “Decennium” to the venom laced viciousness of “The Elitist Ones” and “A Killing Industry” to the touching, slower, heart-wrenching “Bring Me Home” and everything in between, members Phil Bozeman (vocals), Ben Savage (guitar), Zach Householder (guitar), Alex Wade (guitar), Ben Harclerode (drums) and Gabe Crisp (bass) have laid it all out and found solstice in their own skins. Dynamic, multifaceted and highly polished, “Mark of the Blade” builds on the huge sound from excellent production through experience and with the help of producer Mark Savage (The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse, etc.). Huge sound and huge tone. By far the best in the natural progression of the Whitechapel sound. Don’t think of this newer, more refined sound as weak or less intense; you will be doing yourself a huge injustice. This is really a showcase of incredible musicianship that is sure to please long standing fans and bring in new ones at the same time. Think of the newer sound compared to the older sound like a fight; the difference between getting an upper to the chin by Mike Tyson versus getting kicked by Bruce Lee. Both are brutal and are going to hurt. You are definitely going down quickly and you are going to be very, very sore the morning. The difference simply being the amount of finesse and refinement with which you get your ass kicked! This is a monster release so just buy “Mark of the Blade” on the 24th, keep an open mind and have your face, predictably melted!
Whitechapel has just come off their “Decade of the Blade Tour” and currently playing in The Vans Warped Tour 2016. They will continue to play shows around the United States until September and then they will continue playing overseas starting in November; going until the end of the year. If they are playing anywhere near you, go show them the love that they have shown their fans with “Mark of the Blade”. It is their gift to you because Whitechapel loves their fans as much as their fans love them!