For all the ballyhoo and new generation of folks it has introduced to the glorious world of extreme metal, a few years on from its (proper) inception deathcore is still yet to deliver a definitive album, one that actually gives the pretenders and B-Teamers something real to chase and something for the skeptics to truly latch on to.
Aside from the Billboard chart positions it will inevitably attain and online-driven hype it is already gathering, American crew Whitechapel’s third full-length A New Era Of Corruption isn’t quite that album, but they’ve come far closer than most.
The approach adopted here represents a deft move from the American sextet; enough of a streamlined, taut death metal attack to attract some detractors to the party, while not being too much of a progression or sidestep from their first two releases in order to alienate their deathcore fan base. Without taking any major leaps forward sonically, Whitechapel have cut and refined these songs within an inch of their lives. As a result, no track outstays its welcome or tests your patience. The transitions are classier and tauter (check out the rhythmic barrage if ‘Breeding Violence’ and the savage riffing of ‘End Of Flesh’), and while there are breakdowns, they aren’t telegraphed from miles off ala their first two The Acacia Strain and Suicide Silence-worshipping albums. Phil Bozeman’s guttural vocals drip with noticeably more venom and less gimmickry; Deftones frontman Chino Moreno even stops by for a guest spot on ‘Reprogrammed to Hate’. The production is also colder, giving off a clinical, unfeeling atmosphere. As enticing as the crushing death metal of opener ‘Devolver’ is, it’s some of the tracks later in the piece that really ram the intensity home. ‘Murder Sermon’ (reportedly written about Bozeman’s deceased mother) effortlessly segues between everything from tasteful guitar sweeps to furious blast-beats and a menacing ambience and introspection Whitechapel have never captured previously. Closer ‘Single File to Dehumanization’ is a groove-rooted beast likely inspired (at least lyrically) by their cover art.
Deathcore may still largely be found wanting as a creative force on the whole, but Whitechapel have pulled a surprise out of the hat here and appear one of the more likely contenders destined for grander things. Even if their inclusion of three guitarists in the band’s ranks is still blatantly unnecessary.
2. Breeding Violence
3. The Darkest Day of Man
4. Reprogrammed to Hate
5. End of Flesh
7. A Future Corrupt
8. Prayer of Mockery
9. Murder Sermon
11. Single File to Dehumanization