(9/10) US-based powerhouse Whitechapel premiered in 2007 with ‘The Somatic Defilement’. 12 years later the band is ready to release their newest album ‘The Valley’.
As with the previous records also album number seven isn’t a happy one and doesn’t include sing-a-long songs. It’s a dark and melancholic longplayer that contains a lyrical approach that’s very personal. Frontman Phil Bozeman thematises his own childhood, looking back on things with a perspective from now. The album is also about the struggles his mom had, which makes this longplayer to a very personal one.
I guess it’s this background that makes ‘The Valley’ to an extreme and awesome longplayer. It’s intense, it’s brutal, it’s fragile, it’s thrilling … it’s great.
The opener ‘When the Demon Defiles a Witch’ shows that this album is far more then solely a deathcore attack. The calm beginning comes as a surprise but it’s a brutal riff that shoots down harmony in flames. The chorus instead is rather melodic compared to the extremely aggressive verse. The acoustic element comes back along the way and acts with its clean vocals as a counterpart to brutality. In that sense the opener reflects the album extremely well since the pattern is a blueprint for the entire album.
The following ‘Forgiveness is Weakness’, a riff grinder, is a merciless track before ‘Brimstone’ releases its hellish vibe. Whitechapel reduces tempo a lot with this tune, which results on a sinister doom-deathcore smasher that’s a real highlight. Wow.
After such a wrecking ball it is ‘Hickory Creek’, a song build on melody and mainly clean vocals, that shows the soulful side of the quintet, while another riff monster is entitled ‘The Other Side’ and also ‘Lovelace’ doesn’t belong to the category of love songs either.
‘Doom Woods’ is the final chapter of this very personal and emotionally intense album. ‘The Valley’ is more than only a deathcore album. It’s an emotional journey. ‘The Valley’ has the potential to put a spell on you and I can definitely recommend this longplayer.
- When a Demon Defiles a Witch
- Forgiveness Is Weakness
- Hickory Creek
- Black Bear
- We Are One
- The Other Side
- Third Depth
- Doom Woods
Label: Metal Blade
Release Date EU: March 29th, 2019