Our Endless War
28 April 2014
It would’ve be more apt if Whitechapel had called their new album Our Endless Uphill Struggle. Their credibility within the saturated genre of deathcore depends upon them churning out consistent-sounding music to one of metal’s most unrelenting and demanding scenes. This album – their fifth studio album in 8 years – will be lavished with praise by their fans for doing just that, but why should anyone with a peripheral interest in the genre care?
More importantly, do Whitechapel care anymore? The tight musicianship, deft production and a well-earned reputation for aggression are all part-and-parcel of Our Endless War, all of which go some way to hide the tired predictability of Phil Bozeman’s lyrics.
Bozeman has always been explicit about what his words mean, and how his albums have wandered from the personal (A New Era of Corruption) to the grisly (The Somatic Defilement). Our Endless War is a condemnation of our vacuous society and our penchant for social disassociation (‘Worship the Digital Age’), but also allows space for Whitechapel to outline their domestic policy on the title track: “Let’s take back our justice for all.” It’s not convincing, and just smells like a ploy to buy into a tried-but-bested staple of heavy metal lyricism. With lyrics that lack significance or resonance, it’s difficult to see how this album will last beyond the moment.
What Whitechapel lack in originality, they make up for in colossal weight. Album highlight ‘Mono’ starts like a cross between Strapping Young Lad’s ‘Love?’ and Slipknot’s ‘The Heretic Anthem’, carrying the spitting aggression of both bands and delivering the starkest line of “Stop whining for a better life. Just kill yourself, your kids and your wife”.
But that tightrope between fan satisfaction and delivering innovation is thinner than ever. If Whitechapel spent more time writing genuine killer tracks and less time worrying about the bands waiting to piss on their steaming corpse, they’d be more of a contender for the top of the hothead brutality tree. Whitechapel can only afford to keep their head above the parapet because other bands in the scene are too busy gobbling down their excrement.
Sounds Like: The Acacia Strain, Chelsea Grin
Standout Tracks: Mono, Let Me Burn