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Whitechapel – Mark Of The Blade – Album Review

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Mark Of The Blade
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 24 June 2016
Review by Steve Jenkins

After a decade of making crushing metal, which started off as a breakdown infused machine featuring technical riffs and an impressive guttural vocal range, Whitechapel continue to walk an interesting and sometimes unsure line throughout their career.

It’s safe to say that Whitechapel have stayed at the top of their genre, with six studio albums now under their belt. Over the last few album cycles they’ve managed to introduce new elements to their sound bit by bit, some have welcomed the change whilst others have snubbed their noses towards the evolution of this Tennessee six-pack of heavy hitters.

At times the song-writing and lyrical choices seem a little cheesy and underwhelming, especially when you compare it to albums such as New Era Of Corruption or even This Is Exile, which are pinnacles of their career. Vocalist, Phil Bozeman, even delves into some clean singing on the tracks, Bring Me Home and Decennium, which will be sure to outrage some fans. People might also agree there’s a certain Stone Sour vibe on these tracks.

Like every Whitechapel album though, there’s still some devastatingly heavy music that will go over extremely well in a live atmosphere given the furious nature of their live show environment. Opening track, The Void, has some intoxicating head-banging riffs and a catchy chorus to go along with it. Whist the title track, Mark Of The Blade, has a more groove orientated feel, with a borderline rap approach to the vocal styling, expect with a much more aggressive take on it.

If you can appreciate the experimentation and unconventional musical elements in deathcore, give this album a try. It seems they’ve taken to the Southern style gimmick of patriotism and a slightly strange obsession with saws and blades, making that their image. There are highlights and lowlights, but overall this is just another Whitechapel album that leaves me wanting the raw intensity and mind-blowing breakdowns that gave them the renowned position they’re in today.

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