Whitechapel launched their seventh album The Valley which marks a new step into their current evolution from deathcore to a melodic powerhouse. The band has taken different paths and have grown in both popularity and in their musicianship. To celebrate the new record, these are how I rank every release from their worst to best.
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#7: Our Endless War (2014)
The band’s 2014 release has a lot of positives about it. They took their self-titled album and advanced their sound further with plenty of great hits like the politically charged title track, the anthemic The Saw is the Law, and the emotional closing song Diggs Road.
The problem is the inconsistency throughout the list of tracks. Worship the Digital Age is too repetitive, and vocalist Phil Bozeman utilizes talking points too often that became boring and bland throughout the record. If Digital Age and either Psychopathy or How Times Have Changed were switched out for the two superior bonus tracks, A Process So Familiar and Fall of the Hypocrites, then Our Endless War would rank a little higher.
#6: Mark of the Blade (2016)
The first major shift since their 2012 release, Whitechapel go in a more melodic and groovy direction with their sound. The record establishes their first time introducing clean vocals which caused controversy, but Bozeman nailed it with this new style.
Each song stands strong, but not a whole lot of memorable songs. What makes this release outrank Our Endless War is its consistency. The only major miss is the title track due to it feeling redundant after having The Saw is the Law and significantly less impactful.
The introduction of clean vocals with Bring Me Home and the closing song Decennium feel refreshing despite a lack of confidence out of Bozeman’s performance. Compared to other bands in the realm of extreme metal, he outshines many vocalists who have tried singing and failed.
#5: The Somatic Defilement (2007)
Before these Southern metalheads were writing thought-provoking songs about politics or emotionally charged tracks about childhood trauma, they had written this vicious beast. A concept album of serial killers, many of which based on Jack the Ripper who inspired the group’s name. Filled with extremely sadistic lyrics and just as brutal instrumentation, this is the perfect record for people wanting to scratch that itch of brutal deathcore.
The introduction Necrotizing stands as the band’s best with its haunting sounds and disturbing quote from the murderer Jeffery Dahmer.
#4: Whitechapel (2012)
The first step towards leaving the deathcore scene behind was with this reinvention of what it meant to listen to Whitechapel. They maintained plenty of elements old fans would be familiar with, but added plenty of new melody and styles that changed their identity.
Make It Bleed, I, Dementia, and Section 8 are just some of the heaviest hitting tracks on this powerful album that packs a punch with every track.
The bookending a piano introduction with Make It Bleed, and the closing track Possibilities of an Impossible Existence brings a beautiful symmetry that rarely gets executed. Starting up this monster eases anyone into a false sense of safety before utter annihilation then putting the person into an emotional wreck after its final moments.
#3: This Is Exile (2008)
The album that put Whitechapel on the map, their second release titled This Is Exile. Any fan of the deathcore genre cherishes this behemoth. Full of memorably dangerous tracks like This Is Exile, Possession, and Eternal Refuge will remain some of the strongest creations from this heavy metal juggernaut.
A few issues from being such an early creation comes from the unimpressive instrumental tracks that fail in comparison to Mark of the Blade‘s Brotherhood. Despite some immaturity found in some parts, it is hard to resist this classic release.
#2: The Valley (2019)
To keep it short, since I do have a review of this album, The Valley takes the misses from their 2016 and 2014 launches and improves upon every aspect. Whitechapel developed what works to become a complete melodic group while maintaining their quality in heavy music.
#1: A New Era of Corruption (2010)
It feels to me that this is the forgotten record from the band’s catalog, but I love it front to back. I got into the group because of Murder Sermon (featuring Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain). Now I am a fan for life.
Besides the excellent guest spot with Bennett, Chino Moreno from the almighty Deftones has his time to shine on Reprogrammed to Hate with his ear piercingly awesome screams. Too bad the group has moved away from having guests feature because this is the sole reason why they should have more friends come on to accompany Bozeman’s voice.
A solid album that is relentless and consistent, unlike anything I have heard from the Tennessee natives.
Sadly, I have seen them three times and they have never played any song off the album. One day, I swear I will see them play one of these tracks.
What do you think of my list? I am sure plenty of you will disagree, so how do you rank each Whitechapel album?
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Images and videos via Metal Blade Records