Album Review: Whitechapel - The Valley
Album: The Valley
Release Date: 29 March 2019
Review by Steve Jenkins
Whitechapel have just released their best album since A New Era Of Corruption, straight out the gate, it's an easy thing to say. Whilst Our Endless War and Mark Of The Blade did gradually increase their mainstream metal status, there's no denying that "The Valley" is a triumphant moment in the bands legacy.
What we have here is less flaws while the band still progress and keep their roots throughout this whole entire process. What this album has is what the other albums were lacking, a story, and there's definitely a dark story here that vocalist Phil Bozeman tells perfectly, with some of the best vocal performances in metal. Long time fans of Whitechapel might be a bit angry that there are some clean vocals on this album, but don't get mad, they're actually really good. Plus when they serve a sense of purpose, like on such tracks as “When A Demon Defiles A Witch” and “Hickory Creek”, you come to realise that they are just extremely well done, and you kind of forget that this is a deathcore band, they're just a metal band now and you should just deal with it. But don't worry, there are still some brutal a filthy gutteral vocal from Phil on here, which you can find on "Third Depth" and "Forgiveness Is Weakness" if you're after some of that old school Whitechapel sound. Despite going into a more mainstream metal sound, the band still have that delivery that their previous couple of albums were lacking, such as the neck breaking riffs, the crushing grooves, and the vicious and venomous vocal patterns. There's even a thrashy track titled "We Are One" which is still very instense and has some very impressive and technical drumming.
This is Whitechapel’s best album to date. There is no question about that. Nostalgia leads many to The Somatic Defilement and This is Exile, but looking at their career as a whole this album will set them apart from the other bands copying exactly what they did back then. To be fair, though, many of the new/up-and-comers in the scene have been laying down excellent experimentation (Shadow of Intent come immediately to mind). Deathcore has been evolving for a few years now, and it seems like Whitechapel has finally won the game of catch-up. With 2014’s Our Endless War and subsequently Mark of the Blade, it seemed they were going to just become another forgotten about, generic, metal band that tried to transition from deathcore to metal. The Valley brings forth elements that are unmistakably new to their catalog and while not being the freshest of sounds in the grand scheme of things, are executed with perfection and in this case.
9 out of 10.