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Whitechapel: The Valley

Now in their 13th year of existence, Tennessee deathcore merchants Whitechapel have cranked out their seventh studio album, and sixth for Metal Blade Records, titled The Valley. With a pretty consistent line-up that has included vocalist Phil Bozeman, guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder, and bassist Gabe Crisp pretty much since their inception, the band are joined here by studio drummer Navene Koperweiss to round out the recording.

Though the bands savage & brutal attack is ever present, there is an added amount of atmosphere and melody on a few tracks to inject some variation. "When Demon Defiles a Witch" is a terrific death metal corker to kick off the album, chock full of fiery guitar riffs and barnstorming drums, but Bozeman surrounds his death metal growls with some tasty clean melodic vocals for a pleasant element. "Brimstone" and "Forgiveness is Weakness" are both ferocious deathcore mashers, the first a grueling, grinding number and the second blasting with full speed ahead. Again though, little droplets of atmosphere and melody are sprinkled in for a nice surprise. Lilting guitar strains and clean vocals permeate the moody "Hickory Creek", Bozeman showing off his excellent melodic vocal range that is surely either going to open up new listeners to Whitechapel or alienate their loyal fanbase. For my money it works here. "Black Bear" is a slamming, groove laden deathcore blitzkrieg, Phil grunting & growling up a storm over bulbous bass & guitar riffage, and the slightly proggy & atmospheric "Third Depth" again sees the singer mixing up vocal styles to great effect. Perhaps the most brutal tune here is "Lovelace", a punisher death metal bruiser with some crushing riffs and and completely savage vocals, and the album concludes with its moodiest number, the doom laden, spooky "Doom Woods", where ominous keyboards and slow, heavy riffs grab the listener by the throat.

I've said in the past that Whitechapel, though always delivering solid albums, were kind of stuck in a rut for a few years, but they've emerged with an album here that sounds like the freshest thing they've done in quite a while. Musically, this is Whitechapel at their most mature, complete with some very cool guitar riffs and solos, the arrangements are varied, and the vocals might even be the biggest surprise, brutal when needed but some intriguing clean passages that blend well with the ferocity. The Valley is indeed a very tasty surprise.

Track Listing

  1. When a Demon Defiles a Witch 5:04
  2. Forgiveness Is Weakness 2:55
  3. Brimstone 3:25
  4. Hickory Creek 4:57
  5. Black Bear 3:09
  6. We Are One 3:58
  7. The Other Side 3:17
  8. Third Depth 4:08
  9. Lovelace 3:49
  10. Doom Woods 5:52

Added: May 1st 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 471
Language: english

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