Whitechapel // A New Era of Corruption
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Deathcore bad. Whitechapel … good!?
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: whitechapel.com | myspace.com/whitechapel
Release Dates: EU: 04.06.2010 | US: 06.08.2010
At the center of every shitty, irritating trend made up of forgettable, annoying bands is usually a core (no pun intended) of interesting bands that aren’t shitty and that do the music with conviction and may have even been on the front end of the whole trend. The Gothenburg sound had At The Gates and In Flames which have been imitated thousands of times. Metalcore (incidentally which is ripping off At The Gates and In Flames) had Unearth (who had one really great album before they got signed to Metal Blade). As far as I can tell Whitechapel is one such band. I have never listened to them, having been pretty much turned off of any band labeled deathcore because of a slough of shitty fucking bands that have been passed off in my direction (see the “related reviews”, I’m sure you’ll see how I feel about the genre/trend).
What makes Whitechapel different? Well, they don’t suck for starters! So there’s a certain x factor that exists with every band and you sort of know it when you hear it. Whatever that is, Whitechapel has it. It might be that I just like their tone. While they’ve got the deathcore sound, their production isn’t ridiculously triggered and/or shitty, nor is it too unbalanced towards the drums and the vocals, while heavily processed, are still pretty much brutal and good. Mainly, however, I think that the band lacks the derivative quality that so many of their brethren have. The songwriting feels interesting and not just a bunch of linked riffs which are an excuse for a big stupid breakdown. They also seem a lot more comfortable not playing the retarded “tech” game, meaning that the listener gets to listen to good music, not douchebags trying to be Yngwie Malmsteen over a Crowbar breakdown.
More importantly Whitechapel knows how to groove without breakdowns. So, for example, when the band is blasting and grooving at the beginning of “The Darkest Day of Man” it felt more akin to Florida death metal than a piece of shit band like Anima. Sure, they’ve got way too many throwaway breakdowns, which really brings the album down in my eyes. I think every single song has (at least) one and there’s only a couple of them that were really cool (again “The Darkest Day of Man” has a great one, as does “Single File to Dehumanization”). They function basically to intersect with the flow of the record and interrupt what feels like good metal with something that is only there to please mosh happy ninja kids. But they’re also able to write good riffs which feel heavy and original and drive the music somewhere.
Combine these factors: mature song-writing, good grove-based writing, and not conforming to the worst standards of the deathcore scene, and you are left with a genuinely good metal album. It probably still won’t appeal to a lot of people because of the breakdowns, but this feels a bit like deathcore “growing up” so to speak. But I would actually recommend this to fans of groovy death metal which is the first time I’ve ever said that about a deathcore band. Maybe it’s the Suecof production, but there’s something that sounds actually (*gasp*) natural about these guys. Sure they’ve got a minor case of Drum Replacement Syndrome going on, but still the production suits the music well and the riffs are tight and memorable. In other words: A New Era of Corruption is actually really pretty fucking good.
Too bad they’re fucking sponsored by Nike. Way to give deathcore some credibility, dudes.