Their blood is boiling and their sound is expanding…
Out on 24 July 2016 through Metal Blade Records, the depth of the blade felt by Stephen Brophy
Having followed this band from pretty early on in their career and seen the consistent progression they have made a new release from Whitechapel was certainly going to pique my interest. Following on from 2014’s release Our Endless War, we have an eleven track beast in Mark Of The Blade, as you would expect from a death metal/deathcore band. Although Our Endless War received some mixed reviews at the time it resonated very strongly in these ears and quite possibly got criticism over its lyrical content, and prejudice against genres and bands seems to be on the rise again, which is a shame.
So two years on, what has been getting the band’s blood boiling? The State of the World has been a pretty easy target in recent times, but it’s still a strong influence for any band to vent at in 2016. After all, the problems don’t seem to be diminishing. One thing that is for sure is that Whitechapel continue to progress in their songwriting abilities and their skills in adding different layers to their output. Variance is the key here. We continue with high aggressive metal, but not just a blastbeat fest. There’s thought in the work here while still holding true to the deathcore roots on a number of tracks. As with a lot of other bands of their ilk, the more memorable tracks on the album tend to be the heavier ones.
Though they mix in some newer sounds, such as on the very different ‘Bring Me Home’ which includes clean vocals and is a brooding, grumbling piece that manages to somehow sound so completely different and at the same time fit perfectly with the flow of the album. This song is a very brave step forward for the band and one they should be commended for. The guttural vocals are not overused and it’s quite beautifully put together – not something I may have said before about a Whitechapel song. There are possibly some similarities to Corey Taylor’s vocal style with Stone Sour in there, but it’s a great song.
Other album highlights include the excellent title track ‘Mark Of The Blade’ which is nice and heavy; ‘A Killing Industry’ which pummels you into submission; and the furious ‘Dwell In The Shadows’ which, although not the most aggressive vocal assault the band have ever made, has something in the way it builds and stays nose-to-nose with you all the way through.
There are definitely more pieces of experimentation with sound and style on this album. It’s very rare to have an instrumental track on an album like this but they aren’t afraid of doing their own thing. The band have also opened up a wealth of possibilities for their future, new avenues to explore and express themselves through. Mark Of The Blade is a really good album. Don’t be scared to share the new path with them – there are interesting times ahead for Whitechapel as they continue to expand their horizons.
8.5 out of 10
- The Void
- Mark Of The Blade
- Elitist Ones
- Bring Me Home
- A Killing Industry
- Dwell In The Shadows