Monthly Archives: June 2010

Whitechapel – A New Era of Corruption [Review]

A New Era of Correuption is the latest release from Tennessean deathcore troop Whitechapel that was released on Metal Blade June 8, 2010.

Whitechapel A New Era of Corruption

I would be lying if I told you that this album featured anything that is completely new for Whitechapel. That being said, this album is still drastically different from the band’s two previous efforts. From the very beginning of the album, the feel and textures of the sound are much different than the all-too-familiar sound of The Somatic Defilement and This Is Exile. A New Era of Corruption finally sounds like the band is making use of the fact they have three guitarists, rather than having three people playing the same riff simultaneously in nearly every song. There are a lot of solid guitar harmonies throughout the album, something that wasn’t used much outside of breakdowns on This Is Exile.

The next huge step Whitechapel took for this album was switching up some of the songwriting and breakdowns they used. While not overly boring, This Is Exile didn’t have a lot of variation amongst songs, but A New Era of Corruption seems pretty fresh from song to song. In addition to the songs being a bit more varied, there are also a multitude of texture and mood changes – something else not found in previous efforts. No song demonstrates this better than “Reprogrammed to Hate,” a song that isn’t simply slams and guttural vocals.

I should make it very clear that I’m not stating that A New Era of Corruption is vastly different than This Is Exile, because it’s not. There are a few tweaks made to the Whitechapel formula, such as multiple guest vocals from The Acacia Strain’s Vincent Bennett, but all of the things found on This Is Exile and The Somatic Defilement are still ever-present.

The only real complaint I have about this album is that it seems to be separated between a couple really killer songs and some other filler material. The album can be somewhat boring on the songs that seem to be the more obvious examples in which the three Whitechapel guitarists get into minor second “chug chug” mode the most. The first few tracks on the album are easily the most boring, but the album comes alive at track four with “Reprogrammed to Hate” when we finally see what these guys can do.

If you liked Whitechapel before; or just want some heavy-as-hell beatdowns with some interesting guitar harmonies, tempo changes, and solos here and there; this might be an album for you. An album that showed glimpses of maturity and progression in the band’s sound, but one that shows they’ve still got a bit more refining and growing as a band to go.

Track Picks:

“End of Flesh” and “A Prayer of Mockery”

Score:

6/10 devil horns

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AOTY Frontrunners

It’s about halfway through the year, and you know what that means – we’ve only got half a year left to get new album of the year candidates. There have been some surprises so far this year, both good and bad. We saw a return to form by a few bands, and a fall from grace from others. Here are the five best albums at the halfway point of the year:

Rhapsody the Frozen Tears of Angels

First up, Rhapsody of Fire with The Frozen Tears of Angels. Known as a band who always puts out solid symphonic power metal albums, it’s hard to really step your game up beyond “really good” after seven albums, but somehow Rhapsody of Fire have found a way to do so. In somewhat stereotypical fashion, the album starts off with an ominously narrated intro track, but then Luca Turilli’s fingers catch fire, and he plays the most furious and blistering guitar riffs I’ve ever heard from Rhapsody of Fire. The rest of the band follow suit, delivering what is easily the band’s best performance since Dawn of Victory.

High on Fire Snakes for the Divine

Next is the latest gem from Matt Pike, High on Fire‘s Snakes for the Divine. A bit of a change from the band’s last release, Death is This Communion, the band has delivered yet another record very much their own style and very obviously a solid record. All of the instruments, including Matt Pike’s voice, are as grimey as ever – but at least now it doesn’t sound like they were recorded in a garage. The problem about the production is that it’s a very acquired, but fitting, taste for the music. The whole album sounds very dense, and there isn’t much breathing room between instruments. Snakes for the Divine definitely shows more of Matt Pike’s influence from his days in Sleep, most notably in the slower sludge sections of “Bastard Samurai.”

Overkill Ironbound

Third we have an album that is a godsend in the modern thrash times, a return to form of one of the oldest thrash bands still around, Overkill‘s Ironbound. In recent years, Overkill had put out a number of mediocre thrash albums, and many fans were ready to put them out to pasture. Overkill have definitely quieted the critics with what is their best album in nearly two decades. Finally back to being a real thrash band and playing what they know best, Ironbound is a loud, fast, angry, and pure thrash album that is best listened to at ear-splitting volumes while giving yourself voluntary whiplash from headbanging.

White Wizzard Over The Top

There’s a lot to be said about our next album, but most importantly, you should know that it isn’t actually from the 1980’s. White Wizzard‘s Over the Top is often criticized for its obvious Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences, something that detracts from the talent of the band. It’s not as if White Wizzard are a crappy cover band, they’re just a band that really loves New Wave of British Heavy Metal and do it well, even if they are a couple decades late to the party. How can you argue with a band that writes lyrics like: “You’re gonna make it, you’ve got the fire, flames of your destiny, burning with desire. You’ve got the dreams, you’re burning higher. On wings wings of steel you fly to heights that will inspire!” (taken from “Over The Top”)?

Fear Factory Mechanize

The fifth album on this list is from a band I thought had thrown in the towel a few years ago, but have returned to deliver the best album of their entire career. Perhaps it’s just the “Gene Hoglan gene” that makes any band with him on drums sound awesome, but either way, it sure is nice to know that Fear Factory‘s Mechanize is a killer album. It takes the old school aggressive and raw sound of Fear Factory combined with the newer sound from albums like Archetype with big drawn-out clean vocal sections. If you ever heard Fear Factory and though “Hey, this isn’t too bad” you will most likely love Mechanize, as it takes everything Fear Factory ever did right, and steps it up a notch.

Surprisingly, there were some great metal bands that put out unenthusiastic and sub-par albums this year, including Arsis, Gamma Ray, and Heaven Shall Burn. The second half of 2010 looks quite promising with new albums from Blind Guardian, Whitechapel, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Iron Maiden, and many more all on the horozon.