For over a decade the Saw has become the law for Whitechapel, honing their craft both live and in the studio to become one the premiere death metal bands around today, although many would say they are a Deathcore band, the lads from Tennessee have certainly transcended that musical enclosure and `Mark of the Blade’ proves that in droves.
`Mark of the Blade’ is Whitechapel’s 5th album and after the success, yes success of their previous album `Our Endless War’ which cracked open the top 10 in the top 200 billboard charts in the States, this album certainly has a lot to live up too, has it done it? Is `Mark of the Blade’ a true successor to `Our Endless War’? Only time will tell.
Starting off with `The Void’ hits death metal right in your face, fast and relentless throughout, `The Void’ is showcasing just where Whitechapel can and are taking Death Metal, with the insanely monstrous vocals that just as clean and precise is being delivered by front man Phil certainly veering away from the straight up cookie monster vocals that we hear so often being the way mimicking outsiders imitating metal.
Now this will most definitely turn heads, track number 4 `Bring Me Home` displays what certainly could be Whitechapel’s first clean vocals in a song to my mind at least. It opens with heavy clean bass line, simplistic yet airy and atmospheric, when Phil’s vocals set in it’s certainly not what you’d expect until the chorus breaks and its Phil’s characteristic vocal delivery is back. Ultimately this is definitely going to be the marmite song in this album chock full of heavy hitters yet it certainly breaks up the album and shows you to survive you need to evolve and variety is the spice of life, some would say.
What `Mark Of The Blade’ certainly for Whitechapel appears to developing their next musical evolution, adding in variety of new atmospheric elements, technical guitar leads and less distorted vocals into Death Metal. Now whether a song like `Bring Me Home’ will work in the live setting, who knows at this point but it would be an interesting moment to witness.
`Mark Of The Blade’ will either be received with abundance of praise or be Whitechapel’s experimental album that sits on the shelf that gets dusted off in twenty years in a top 10 overlooked album list. Let’s hope it’s the former over the latter.
9/10- Death Metal speed up, heavy as fuck and pushing the envelope, brave.
Stand out tracks:
`The Void’, `Bring Me Home’ and `Decennium'
Mark of the Blade
Bring Me Home
A Killing Industry
Dwell in the Shadows
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