(Andy Synn revives an old, irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Three reviews of three lines each come after the jump. With music, of course.)
REVIEWS IN HAIKUS
It’s been quite a while
Since I’ve done one of these. Let’s
See if I still can!
(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Whitechapel.)
I appear to have written a lot of words about a Whitechapel album. I consider it an enlightening experience. I apologize to those of you who feel this review is way too long, but I wound up analyzing far more of the disc than I had planned. I also found myself discussing the group’s legacy and dynamic so far; I figured it would help explain (somewhat) why this review took so goddamned long to get out there, but it has given me the opportunity to know this album note for note, word for word, since its release.
Ever since Whitechapel catapulted into metal’s consciousness at large a few years back, it seems that every single review that has come out usually begins with something akin to “a tale of two Whitechapels” and how there is one side that the reviewers really like and another side of the band that they don’t enjoy at all — usually to help represent the fact that the group have somewhat moved beyond their days of bludgeoning deathcore-by-definition songs and into something more akin to a Vader-inspired death metal.
It’s an experience I’m sure a lot of us have shared. I personally began with This Is Exile, as many others did (and would later check out their prior works as well, on the recommendations of other fans and to sate a general curiosity). They became one of the four or five surface-level deathcore bands that I enjoyed. Never felt the need to go any deeper into the genre, but they were always good for a quick hit and then I would be out.
This was helped by the fact that I found the rapid-fire vocal delivery in the titular song to be really cool. And, as much as I would’ve hated to admit it, they were really, really good at the beefy and crushing breakdown, so the appeal was definitely recognizable. However, the band have grown, and over the span of two more albums really have won me over — so much so that I was genuinely excited to hear what Our Endless War would sound like.
Here’s the second round-up of new music I promised earlier today. It doesn’t include everything I had originally planned to cover because… fucking day job… so I’ll try to shoe-horn the rest into a post tomorrow.
Metal Blade announced today that it will be releasing the fifth album by Tennessee’s Whitechapel on April 29 in NorthAm. The title is Our Endless War, and the cover art by Aaron Marsh (with a new logo) can be seen above. The band have described the album as one that includes “dashes of every record we have done so far mixed with the intensity of a new sound.” And they’ve also given us a first taste of what’s coming through a lyric video for a new song: “The Saw Is the Law”.
This track betrays the band’s death core roots in some respects, which could be a plus or a minus depending on your perspective. But it’s also a very heavy storm — a bludgeoning, howling hurricane loaded with interwoven cut-throat riffs, hammer-smashing grooves, and a dose of rapid-fire vox.
(Our man DGR do know how to write a fuckin’ show review, and this is his latest.)
I apologize for dragging ass as long as I did with the review on this one. I had hoped that some good quality video would be out by the time I wrote this, but as time continued on, it became more evident that this would likely be a text-only review. Flash back to October 19th, the day after my birthday. This show would be my personal celebration. I was going to go see one of the most ridiculous shows out there and I was going to drunkenly enjoy every second of it — that there might be some good music happening that night would only be a bonus.
This being a Saturday show, I knew that the crowd would be huge, and that prophecy was fulfilled pretty quickly when I showed up a full twenty-five minutes before doors, and for the first time ever, wound up waiting in line around the block. Other times I’ve been to shows, I’m usually within the first fifty or so people and then the crowd forms about ten minutes before doors. Not so in this case, and that’ll learn me for when/if Gwar come around again.
They’ve played Sacramento before, with Cancer Bats and Devildriver, but I sadly wound up missing that show due to work and I was determined not to do so this time, subjecting myself to weeks of graveyard shifts in order to insure that I had that Saturday evening off. It was an exciting as hell evening in a packed as hell venue, with one of the most energetic crowds I have seen in this city in some time.
Collected here is news about three new tours that surfaced yesterday.
MADNESS AT THE CORE OF TIME TOUR
GWAR is the headliner of this tour, and the rest of the line-up consists of Whitechapel, Iron Reagan, and A Band of Orcs. It’s tough to find a unifying theme for the selection of these bands, other than the fact that the line-up is book-ended by inhuman creatures. But I’ve found that some of the best shows are those in which the combination of bands makes you scratch your head. One band might pull you in, and you might then discover another band you like.
In this case, Whitechapel have kicked my ass every time I’ve seen them and I’m also interested in seeing Iron Reagan and A Band of Orcs (HAIL GZOROTH!). I’ve never gotten into GWAR, though I can’t say I’ve ever given them much of a chance. Maybe that will be my new discovery on this tour. Here’s the schedule:
(In this post DGR reviews the Sacramento show of the current Hatebreed-Whitechapel-All Shall Perish tour on September 27.)
Here’s the thing about a show like this. I know that I am not the hugest fan of the hardcore scene and I’ll be the first to admit that I was really only there to see All Shall Perish and Whitechapel (for the 2nd and 3rd times, respectively), and if Deez Nuts turned out to be great, fine. If Hatebreed were awesome, then that would be great, too. However, I found myself a little more excited when it finally hit me that this was what they were calling the Ten Years Of Perseverance tour and that Hatebreed would be playing pretty much all of that disc front to back, with some of their other songs interspersed throughout. Now, if you’re going to go see Hatebreed it may as well be during this tour because man, Perseverance is kind of THE Hatebreed album and everything after that was more for fans.
I managed to get some good parking and they already had the doors open, which was a little odd since the flyer said 6:30 doors, 7:00 start time. Little did I know that they would actually start the show about half an hour early and end it really early and pack a ton of music in between. Seriously, I got home at 10:44, which is nuts. I usually don’t expect to get home from one of these until 11:30-ish. Also, I bumped into the folks from RockHardLive, one of the local video companies, so any footage comes from them. You should check them out and follow their YouTube channel, because they do some damn good concert footage from around this area.
As explained in Part 1 of this feature, I mean no disrespect to any of the bands mentioned herein when I refer to them as riff-raff. I guess I’ve been called a motherfucker so many times by bands during live shows that I’ve become convinced we’re all riff-raff, and surely that’s how the straight world looks at all of us, so why the hell not? Plus, there’s the appeal of alliteration.
This post is a continuation of my earlier report on news, music, and videos I saw over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing. Even after dividing this into two parts, there’s still a shitload of stuff left to pass along. So I will try to be brief with my verbiage (yeah, like that will happen). In this post: Reports of new Season of Mist albums from Rage Nucleaire (featuring Cryptopsy’s Lord Worm) and Khonsu (featuring the Grønbech brothers and Thebon from Keep of Kalessin); Jucifer’s new Bandcamp page; new music videos from Profane Omen and Whitechapel; new songs from A Band of Orcs and Dysrhythmia; and for Mike Patton fans in the audience, a blurb about the revival of Tomahawk.
I just saw this, but three days ago Season of Mist announced the signing of a four-piece black metal band called Rage Nucleaire. It got my attention because the band was formed by Lord Worm, former vocalist of Cryptopsy. The band are working on a debut album called Unrelenting Fucking Hatred and they describe the music as a “hate-filled blend of melodic black metal and violent industrial.” Their list of influences range from early Emperor and Immortal to Anaal Nathrakh and Mysticum. The other members are bassist Alvater (ex-Frozen Shadows), guitarist/keyboardist Dark Rage, and drummer Fredrik Widigs.
The band have a new Facebook page here, which will allow me and you to sniff around for more info as it emerges. At the moment, although I’m hungry for some music by this group, I have none to share, nor do I have a release date yet.
(In this post, UK-based Andy Synn reviews the new self-titled album by Whitechapel.)
Ah Whitechapel, a name to inspire an instantaneous reaction from pretty much anyone who hears/reads it. In fact, I’d imagine many of you have already formed your opinions based on seeing the name of the review alone, and that they’re either going to be “Whitechapel are the sickest band ever dude!” or “deathcore posers aren’t real metal”… and seriously guys, I thought we were past a) the ignorant fanboyisms of declaring band x, y, or z “the sickest band ever”, and b) pre-judging by association with (often outdated) stereotypes. They’re two ends of the same scale, and both are pretty played out by now.
Now, personally I didn’t really “get” Whitechapel at first. Though their debut was a cut above the rest of the cookie-cutter, faux-aggro deathcore out at the time, and their second record saw some vast improvements in their sound and overall direction, I still wasn’t sold. The reason the group finally “clicked” for me was not just the release of their third album (though it is a very good album), but down to the WAY I was listening to the band – something facilitated by their third release, but which has also allowed me to appreciate their second album more than I ever did.
You see, the HOW and the WHY of listening to an album are just as important as the WHAT (genre, etc). And what finally clicked for me was when I queued up a Whitechapel album right after listening to one of my favourite death metal acts, the genre-defining Vader. The similarities were astounding, and this comparison finally got me to look at Whitechapel in a fresh light.
Phil Bozeman’s vocals are the modernised, spitting-image of Piotr’s, while the band’s overall blueprint bears the genetic fingerprints of the Polish masters all over it – the blinkered brutality, the sheer speed, the singular focus on aggression, the minor melodic teases, the twisting solos… they all scream VADER to me. That may be blasphemous to some of you, but it’s how my mind finally managed to categorise Whitechapel, and I think the comparison is only a positive one for them.
Growth. That’s one thing we metal elitists like to see in a band’s evolution. Tennessee’s Whitechapel is definitely growing, and I don’t just mean in popularity. Today, Metal Blade unveiled the cover to Whitechapel’s new album (above), which is self-titled, as well as the track list. They also began streaming a new song from the album called “Hate Creation”.
I saw Whitechapel on their first U.S. tour, when they were an unknown bunch of deathcore upstarts. They had staying power. They amassed a big following and they helped spawn a wave of imitators. Some of those early deathcore progenitors have gotten stuck in a rut. Others have moved on in different directions, perhaps most prominently Job For A Cowboy, who have evolved into a solid death metal band. “Hate Creation” is evidence that Whitechapel is following a similar path.
I certainly wouldn’t claim that Whitechapel has completely left behind the defining tropes of deathcore, but “Hate Creation” is definitely another step along the road toward death metal mecca, and it’s one of the best songs they’ve yet created.
It hits like a phalanx of artillery in full bombardment mode, with explosive blasts that sound like they might be announcing breakdowns, except the pacing doesn’t really drop. The dynamics of the song are enhanced by stuttering, slightly off-kilter rhythms, speed and increased complexity in the riffing, and variations in the intensity of the onslaught, plus there’s a muted melody that I think will catch the song in people’s heads. And Phil Bozeman’s vocals are suitably violent and raw.
Give the song a shot after the jump, and past that we’ll give you more details about the album and about the band’s forthcoming tour.
Well, well, well. What a coincidence. This morning I included a new Whitechapel song called “Section 8” in a somewhat random hodgepodge of music. At that point, it appeared the song was going to appear on a new EP. Now, we have confirmation of that, plus more details, plus a video for the song. So, for the sake of completeness . . . I give you this post.
The EP will indeed be called Recorrupted and it will indeed be released by Metal Blade on November 8. In addition to “Section 8“, the EP will include a cover of Pantera’s “Strength Beyond Strength”, an acoustic version of “End of Flesh”, a Big Chocolate remix of “Breeding Violence”, and a remix of “This Is Exile” by Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan. “Section 8″ and “Strength Beyond Strength” are also the first recordings with new drummer Ben Harclerode.
The video features studio footage shot and edited by guitarist Alex Wade, with animations by Vince Edwards. You can see it after the jump.