Written by: AP on 27/07/2012 22:48:34

Whitechapel could not have chosen more aptly than to self-title this third album. No longer content to sit atop the throne in the deathcore league, the group has taken bold steps at ensuring this will be the album that will define them for years to come. No doubt this opus is a reaction to the continued association of Whitechapel with the much decried deathcore genre by critics, despite overwhelming evidence that the sextet wants nothing to do with it, and never had any intention to be one of its main purveyors. It sees the band expanding their arsenal, their intent, and most importantly, their scope, to create one of the most memorable and impactful releases of the year within the extreme metal category.

One of the crucial changes implemented here is a conscious backing away from the excessive hammering that pervaded the band's previous output, a novelty showcased early on "Make It Bleed". Showcasing a greater penchant for groove and atmosphere, the track is a fine representative for the band's rethought approach, which allows each song to breathe and develop - rather than relentlessly assault. The song is introduced by an eerie piano melody, which also serves as closure on the final "Possibilities of an Impossible Existence" and veils the album in a feeling of connectivity and completion. But the tranquillity is short-lived, as an intense riff assault soon takes over to provide an opening to remember. Still, it is not until the brilliant, Opeth-esque overdrive and solo interplay in the bridge that the full extent of Whitechapel's prowess is fully exposed, and a massive lead-backed outro concludes it in fittingly epic fashion. Notice: more narration for one song than most albums deserve altogether, and the rest is equally brilliant, at least for the most part. "Hate Creation" continues in the same progressive context with equivalent success, and although "Cult(uralist)" sounds somewhat less impressive in the wake of the opening duo, its immediacy and extremity should be an appetizing experience for fans of the band's older material. One of the real gems on the album, however, is the following "I, Dementia", which sees them venture into slower territory, where they pair a djent groove with polyrhythmic friction and ambiance to create a song that sounds as menacing as anything written by Vildhjarta, and demands headbanging from beginning to end.

Now, if from the preceding paragraphs it was not clear that, despite the pronounced focus shift in terms of the structure, flow and dynamics of the songs on this record, Whitechapel's music remains extremely heavy, let us concentrate a little bit on that aspect of their sound. The fact is that, while they exist, breakdowns are a rare commodity on this album, but even in their absence the three down-tuned seven string guitars wielded by Ben Savage, Alex Wade and Zach Householder, as well as the bass guitar of Gave Crisp, produce an absolutely harrowing amount of low-end rumble (though the density never compromising the overall clarity and crispness of the mix). Join the four in holy matrimony with the explosive, textured drumming of Ben Harclerode and the brutal bellows of vocalist Phil Bozeman, and the result is songs like "Section 8" and "Faces", which are actually heavy, and not just superficially so.

The latter half of the album offers little relief to the onslaught, but where often an album accumulates a sense of running in circles, out of ideas at this point, Whitechapel continue to push their own limits with "Dead Silence", a morbid atmospheric piece that sees the band venture into blackened territory to exhilirating effect. And while "The Night Remains" is full of mosh friendly antics, the band pulls this aspect of their music off with such ingenuity that it becomes impossible to dismiss it as mind-numbing chug. Indeed, the final crescendo of "Possibilities of an Impossible Existence" confirms that Whitechapel have not only conquered their own limitations; they've risen above their deathcore origins and established themselves as one of the frontrunners of modern death metal - a stunning accomplishment.

Download: Make It Bleed; Hate Creation; I, Dementia; Dead Silence; Possibilities of an Impossible Existence
For the fans of: Carnifex, Chimaira, Vildhjarta
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.06.2012
Metal Blade Records

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