This is Exile

Written by: AP on 31/08/2008 15:22:16

With metalcore now a dying scene, it'll be interesting to see if this new wave of extreme metal will see the uncontrolled expansion and subsequent implosion that metalcore did. After all, its due to an exodus from that genre that we now have the more established bands and their fans simmering with disdain for a sudden surge of image-conscious extreme metal bands and their state-of-the-art sound. Gone are fourth generation At The Gates riffs; the battle to out-brutal one another has begun; and Whitechapel, despite their as-of-yet short existence, are championing the advance with their much anticipated sophomore release, "This is Exile".

Although beautiful is a word seldom used in this context, Whitechapel's song-writing demands its use. Sure, the chromatic palm muting, dissonant riffs and frantic key changes common in death metal are still key ingredients, but the focus here is on tasty riffs, which is hardly a surprise with three guitarists at the band's disposal. Those extra seven strings could easily have been used for extra punch, and although they are at times used for just that, the band have undergone the aural revelation most bands of this school haven't, that people cannot, and will not remember songs without some point of reference. With vocals that are genuine growling, those points of reference have to be instrumental.

While other bands like Suicide Silence openly declare that they want to write their songs as brutal and unforgiving as possible, Whitechapel embraces a more liberal approach, trusting that even the most hardened metal heads are open to digressions. The band's influences have been drawn from a variety of sources, perhaps least notably Meshuggah, to whom the guitar-trio owe royalties for their angular riffing and rhythmic abnormalities. I'm prompted to incite an outcry by claiming that Whitechapel's sound is best described as progressive. Like Job For A Cowboy with riffs. But essentially it's still a breakdown-laden barrage of straightforward, modern death metal.

Whitechapel may not be the pioneers of anything, nor have they by any means put out a groundbreaking album, but "This is Exile" is an incredibly tight package. With its deranged aggression and sonic destruction leaving gaps for color and texture, it's brutal as fuck with breathing breaks. It's an album that, if it didn't break grounds, it at least opened some doors. And that's a glimmer of hope for a genre that seems destined for doom. For now, Whitechapel's crosshairs are on Anima, and dethroning is imminent.


Download: Father of Lies, This is Exile, Death Becomes Him

For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Despised Icon, Job For A Cowboy

Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.07.2008

Metal Blade

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