Whitechapel are pissed off.
The sextet’s return, Our Endless War, is a political tirade of angst and spite spewing forth across the release with an embedded hatred of their country, the ‘digital age’ and humanity. The lyrics read more as a personal vendetta at times with the meaning or relevance of the words losing their way amongst the music.
Marching into the album with the instrumental ‘Rise’, it doesn’t take long for the double kick and the wall of sound provided by three guitarists and a growling bass line to kick in. The title track provides a death groove if there were such a thing, with Phil Bozeman’s guttural splurge driving the song into venomous direction. Next track ‘The Saw is the Law’ will divide opinion, more so the devotees of the band since their brutal debut The Somatic Defilement. What starts off in a sludgy churn of down tuned guitar quickly gathers momentum. Bozeman’s vocals are more accessible though still throaty and this song in particular highlights the fact that Whitechapel are turning more to a groove base death band rather than that fanatical deathcore force from a few years back.
Delving into more groove and melody will draw some obvious and not so obvious comparisons. For starters, the Meshuggah sound comes across in the down-tuned guitars – not for the first time with this band, but more so now than ever. It’s almost djent in some instances, with a Lamb of God groove injecting the more melodic stance. ‘Mono’ has an early Slipknot sound with manic drumming though Bozeman’s deathly scowls automatically bring forth the Whitechapel mantra through the ensuing track.
“The mouth of hell is open wide tonight,” Bozeman bellows at the start of ‘Let Me Burn’, another trudging doom meets deathcore track where the slow churn emphasises his ‘bowels of hell’ vocal. Like many other tracks on this album, the first few listens will have its audience by the balls. The en masse swirl of aggression simply will engulf you into liking this album. There are some great solos to be found, (‘Psychopathy’) but often they are cut short and structured in a way to re-incorporate that slow deathly churn or deathcore riff we’ve all heard a thousand times before. There are some ambient and technical parts (‘Diggs Road’) but missed amongst the dredge. It’s only after a full week of rotation will the doubts arise about its contents.
Kudos to Whitechapel for their pursuit of evolving the band. In many respects Our Endless War is a progression, however slight, from its predecessor. Ultimately, the monotonous drone and similarity throughout the album lets it down. More a side accompaniment to the Whitechapel discography than the main course, Our Endless War could have been great but in the end, it’s another album in a long line of deathcore albums that sound all too similar after the dust settles.
2. Our Endless War
3. The Saw is the Law
5. Let Me Burn
6. Worship the Digital Age
7. How Times Have Changed
9. Blacked Out
10. Diggs Road