ALBUM REVIEW – “Our Endless War” by Whitechapel

2012’s self-titled album saw Whitechapel reach new heights as they moved to transcend the deathcore wave that they’d rode into the music world on. With a newfound knack for dynamics and consistently interesting riffs, it featured a handful of tracks that stood out as easily the best the band had written yet. New release Our Endless War does lack standout cuts to rival those peaks, but on the other hand it consolidates their more finely honed approach to songwriting and, of course, hits harder than a stampeding rhino. The strength of the band has always truly been just how viciously heavy their triple guitar attack and thundering rhythm section can be, accompanied by the dependably monstrous vocals of Phil Bozeman.

The primal appeal of the insurmountable grooves of ‘The Saw is the Law’ (a southern themed number with shades of Upon a Burning Body) and the cacophonous ‘Let Me Burn’ lies in their sheer, bowel-rumbling aggression. Bozeman’s rapid-fire death growl delivery cuts through the thick guitar onslaught, the two together a vicious combination. Much like on the self-titled, though, subtleties are scattered through the record that allow the big moments to hit even harder – the build-up of ‘Rise’ into the bareknuckle surge of the title track is a fantastic way to open the album, while the measured bridge and frenzied guitar shredding make ‘Psychopathy’ a delirious ride.

There are chinks in the at-first-seemingly impenetrable armour, variety in sounds only really coming into play in the record’s second half, and though the breakdown quotient is thankfully lower than many of their contemporaries Whitechapel do occasionally get bogged down in chugging for chugging’s sake, ‘Worship the Digital Age’ the worst offender for this. But what Our Endless War is really lacking is truly fantastic songs at the calibre of ‘Hate Creation’ or ‘Dead Silence’ from the self-titled. The band comes closest to that pinnacle on closing track ‘Diggs Road’, a six-minute slowburner packed to the brim with masterful guitar shredding and holding a sinister feeling throughout.

Whitechapel certainly haven’t lost any of the immense aggressive heft that sets them a rung above most other deathcore bands, while the progress they’ve made thus far hasn’t been lost. However, it hasn’t really been advanced either, and while their downtuned onslaught is never less than impressive it can prove tiresome over long stretches. Our Endless War may well be the kind of record that’s infinitely more enjoyable in the live environment. The near-unrelenting heaviness certainly encourages the listener to want to destroy their surroundings (a problem in certain situations), and the songs should sound ferocious ripping out of a venue PA.

Rating: 7/10

[Michael Bird]

‘The Saw Is the Law’

‘Our Endless War’

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