Deathcore masterminds, Whitechapel, have released their sixth studio album Mark of the Blade (24 June 2016). Prior to its release they announced that this album would feature some clean vocals and this was met with mixed responses from support to anger. I recently received the album from our affiliates at Metal Blade, gave it a listen and can personally say that I love the fact that Phil Bozeman tried his hand at some clean vocals. Now, brOotalz Whitechapel fans need not worry – the band is not going soft, they’re just expanding their sound and there is still heaviness aplenty. The album has a strong emphasis on groove, especially in the drumming which shies away from the stereotypical blast-beats associated with death metal. This album is their most musically diverse, favouring great tracks over trying to force tracks into some genre mould.
The album starts off with three brutal tunes and then takes a melodic break with Bring Me Home featuring the abovementioned cleans vocals, which Phil absolutely nails. The fifth track brings back the groove fuelled brutality and from there the aural assault continues, leaving the listener breathless at the end. I was eager to see the response to album so far and so I consulted Twitter and it is great to see the support that they are getting from their legion of loyal fans – I did not find a trace of negativity. Well done, guys. This album is a must for all Whitechapel fans and fans of deathcore, groove metal and metal in general.