The Valley - Whitechapel

Barndomstraumer can be a good thing

The Valley is without a doubt the Whitechapels to date the most melodic release, we can't get around it. But at no time, go on compromise with the band's integrity. It is unmistakably Whitechapel, they have just taken the next natural step in the evolution of their sound. To it as of and for the sticks a little in the east and in the west one must take with. Barndomstraumer follows rarely a red thread.

Raised in a dark valley

"Based on true events" is the subtitle of Whitechapels seventh plate The Valley. A subtitle you most often see in film, and most of all, it seems a little out of place to have on a record sleeve. But in this case it is quite appropriate. The Valley is a concept album, where the title and the lyrical theme deals with vocalist Phil Bozemans growing up in Hardin Valley – an area located west of Knoxville, Tennessee. An upbringing that does not seem to have been the world's best or easiest. An interesting choice for a concept album, but Whitechapel is not unfamiliar with this format. Their debut album The Somatic Defilement 2007 was also a concept album, however, is of the less personal nature, as it referred to Jack the Ripper's deeds.

Knoxville, Tennessee is a sick place

The album's opening, "When a Demon Defiles a Witch", is a quite good indication of the sound on the rest of the album. There is, of course, deathcore, as we know from the Whitechapel – solid, heavy and right up in the face of one of the genre's better vocalists. But a more interesting element is the very melodic passages. The first time they truly became illuminated, it was on the album's predecessor, Mark of the Blade with the track "Bring Me Home", which was the first Whitechapel song with clean vocals. An element that will be explored further in The Valley, Phil is actually a quite good singer who can other than just roar you down into the abyss. There are several sections with clean vocals, and at no point feels they misplaced.

But Whitechapel has always been one of the genre's more melodidrevne bands. This was already evident on the instrumental track, "Death Becomes Him", from the band's 2008 disc This Is Exile. And that the band always has had no less than three guitarists, should also be a small hint of a drawbar on the growing melodic aspect. However, one need not be afraid that they have left the deathcore genre totally. Tracks like "Forgiveness Is Weakness", "Black Bear" and "The Other Side" is a brick thrown in the face, accompanied by Phil Bozemans almost iconic afgrundsbrøl. We're however not quite the kaffeafkalkningsdybe level, as all have heard in the video for "Unanswered". But less can also do it. Especially when you get to the more melodic break, appear the heavy sections even heavier, and when the roar: "I am Godlike" at the end of "The Other Side", it stands as chiseled in stone.

This plate deals with Phil Bozemans, to put it mildly, bad memories, do also, unfortunately, to the plate and sticking in as many directions as the array of human emotion. It is from the frustration of hopelessness through the depression into hatred. The emotions are kept, however, to a single per song, but they do not always come in an order that feels logical. It is from one extreme to another, where you could miss a bit of the up/de-escalation in the intensity.


>> Check the songs and lyrics here