Whitechapel seem to be going from strength to strength in recent years with Our Endless War peaking at number 10 on the billboard 200 and the most recent album Mark of the Blade being very well received by both fans and critics alike. With a reputation for having strong albums and having introduced some new elements to the music of the previous album, all eyes are on the band to see what they deliver with this new record. The band stated that this is a much darker record with lyrics taken from vocalist Phil Bozeman’s childhood and his mother’s diary containing some very disturbing and evil writings. It’s clear that this record is set to be a different beast from the previous.
That is all the more the case with opening track “When a Demon Defiles a Witch” featuring the clean vocals introduced in “Bring Me Home” and “Decennium” in a much darker context with them complimenting the song perfectly and not sounding out of place at all. Taking things into a polar opposite direction, “Forgiveness Is Weakness” and the following track “Brimstone” take the heavy dial and throw it to maximum with the former being one of the most aggressive tracks from the band in recent years. The anger in Bozeman’s voice as he screams “He is finally dead” speaks volumes about some of the hardships he had to endure as a child.
“Hickory Creek” takes a different tone by predominately featuring clean vocals and having a much more sombre and reflective tone than some of the other tracks on the album. Having a track like this adds just that extra little bit of flare to the album and is easily one of the best tracks in it. “We are One” is where things take a slightly heavier turn once again with a thunderous breakdown right before the end of the track that’ll no doubt go down a storm live.
Rounding out the album, “Doom Valley” again takes the band to uncharted waters with the layered clean guitar melodies over the down-tuned main riffs and acoustic guitars at the end sounding particularly haunting and sorrowful amidst the chaos unfolding around them. It’s a track which again is one that’ll probably go down a storm live and would no doubt end a set rather well.
Unlike Our Endless War and Mark of the Blade, The Valley does not really feel like a deathcore album. Instead, it feels more like a metal album and that is not a bad thing. By continuing to evolve the elements explored in their previous album and including more new things, Whitechapel have in some ways shed their deathcore shackles and are soaring to new heights within the realms of metal whilst still remaining true to what they do. There’s a song for almost everyone in this album, and whether you’re new to them or a long time fan, I encourage you to grab a copy and give it a listen.
The Valley is released on March 29th via Metal Blade Records