Whitechapel - The Valley review



Reviewer:
7.5

79 users:
7.91
Band: Whitechapel
Album: The Valley
Release date: March 2019


01. When A Demon Defiles A Witch
02. Forgiveness Is Weakness
03. Brimstone
04. Hickory Creek
05. Black Bear
06. We Are One
07. The Other Side
08. Third Depth
09. Lovelace
10. Doom Woods


Establishing your band as one to be taken seriously in the deathcore scene among metalheads has grown increasingly difficult since forever over the years. Whitechapel have done everything possible to bring about an air of legitimacy to the genre with their latest release.

From its opening track, The Valley asserts itself as the dominant force fans have come to expect from this outfit, but also reveals a welcome sense of melody not truly explored until now. Having developed beyond breakdown-driven song structures and venturing into far more technically advanced territory, Whitechapel seemed to have made a point of stretching their talents beyond simplicity and into far more varied, contextualized progression. This isn't a paragraph-length apology extended to those who felt betrayed by Phil Bozeman's usage of clean vocals, which only add to the overall strength and excellence of this release, but instead an explanation as to just how far the band's songwriting prowess has advanced in tandem with the extremely tight musicianship.

Touching back on Bozeman's vocals, it should be noted that his regained depth brings about another layer of extremity to the Whitechapel name, something sorely lacking on recent releases that were unfortunately marred with this weakened half-growled approach -- a failed experiment if there ever was one. The fact he put in the work to not only deliver one of his strongest performances in regards to his guttural approach, but incorporated some impressive clean vocal work, just goes to show how serious this work is compared to anything released previously. It all comes across as a genuine expansion of the band's sound and overall maturation rather than a sellout gimmick aimed at reaching new audiences, something not always as obvious within this scene especially.

Emotionally charged. Personal. Intricate. Experimental. These may not be words you'd think could be applied to a Whitechapel album, or any deathcore album for that matter, but The Valley is all of these things and more. It's far from a masterpiece of music, or even metal, but it gives you everything you want from this kind of album with additional features otherwise disregarded for their misplacement or ingenuity when practiced by other bands throughout the deathcore timeline. And if not for the ultimate clarity with which Phil Bozeman sings and growls his way through this album, the awkward and amateurish lyrics wouldn't be so blatantly highlighted -- but that shouldn't deter anyone from enjoying the rest of the band's output. With a hefty bass and intricate, pummeling drums backing up a surprisingly nuanced balance of mid-paced melodic and technical riffs among the typical deathcore plodding and breakdowns, The Valley covers a wide range of appealing aspects that will engage fans of the band as much as newcomers to the genre alike.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 10


 



Written on 27.11.2019 by Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 29 users
27.11.2019 - 14:53
Coconut Racecar
I just couldn't enjoy this album, unfortunately. Their first couple were the ones that I enjoyed most, but I've never been a huge fan of them overall.

That said, I do appreciate how personal this album is to Phil. I watched a couple interviews about it, and apparently much of it is about his abusive childhood and his mother who had dementia.

Link to interview below
https://youtu.be/eUUmVFHrgD8?t=587
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27.11.2019 - 15:40
s_t_s
I love their self titled album and even Our Endless War has grown over me... However since then they have grown pretty boring and mellow. I tried to listen to The Valley a couple of time but nope, nothing appeals to me here... At the moment I'm simply done with them.
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27.11.2019 - 15:44
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I'll go against the grain and admit this is probably my favorite Whitechapel release
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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28.11.2019 - 00:45
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Coconut Racecar on 27.11.2019 at 14:53

I just couldn't enjoy this album, unfortunately. Their first couple were the ones that I enjoyed most, but I've never been a huge fan of them overall.

That said, I do appreciate how personal this album is to Phil. I watched a couple interviews about it, and apparently much of it is about his abusive childhood and his mother who had dementia.

Link to interview below
https://youtu.be/eUUmVFHrgD8?t=587

I think this is enough of a departure to keep things fresh without abandoning their trademark sound, but I can see how it's divisive among the fanbase. I should have done more research about the making of the album as I had no idea about the inspiration behind it or the interview you posted. I would have made a point of referencing it in the review for sure.
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I have no memory of this place.
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28.11.2019 - 00:47
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by s_t_s on 27.11.2019 at 15:40

I love their self titled album and even Our Endless War has grown over me... However since then they have grown pretty boring and mellow. I tried to listen to The Valley a couple of time but nope, nothing appeals to me here... At the moment I'm simply done with them.

That's fair. I take their slightly mellowed out approach to be more a sign of personal growth in regards to the songwriting. Like they've softened up a bit but as a result of trying to instill some emotion into their music outside of anger/hate. For me it works, but whether it does for others is incredibly subjective.
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I have no memory of this place.
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28.11.2019 - 00:52
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by RaduP on 27.11.2019 at 15:44

I'll go against the grain and admit this is probably my favorite Whitechapel release

I think I can get on board with that, or at least tied with my favorite. I've been a longtime follower but never really a fan. This album didn't quite pull me in "fan" direction but if they follow up with more in this vein I'll be more than happy.
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I have no memory of this place.
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28.11.2019 - 18:51
Nejde
I've always wondered how MS staff rate the albums. For me it's the rating breakdown divided by four. In this case 9+8+7+10/4 = 8,5. Still the rating is 7,5. This is not intended as criticism, I am just curious because it happened before

Great review btw. I consider myself a fan. After the self titled 2012 album (which is my favourite) and their concept debut album this is a good 3rd place. I always respect musicians who actually has something to say with their music.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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28.11.2019 - 22:37
s_t_s
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.11.2019 at 00:47

Written by s_t_s on 27.11.2019 at 15:40

I love their self titled album and even Our Endless War has grown over me... However since then they have grown pretty boring and mellow. I tried to listen to The Valley a couple of time but nope, nothing appeals to me here... At the moment I'm simply done with them.

That's fair. I take their slightly mellowed out approach to be more a sign of personal growth in regards to the songwriting. Like they've softened up a bit but as a result of trying to instill some emotion into their music outside of anger/hate. For me it works, but whether it does for others is incredibly subjective.


Don't get me wrong, mellow is not bad yet it has to appeal to me and here it simply doesn't. I like some Slipknot albums and even some modern songs by In Flames. Hard to explain, it just goes "bing" in my head but here nothing works like that... Not the brutal parts either btw.
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29.11.2019 - 00:43
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Nejde on 28.11.2019 at 18:51

I've always wondered how MS staff rate the albums.

I can't say for others, but the 4 category ratings I consider to be more of an "objective" section of the review independent of my personal score, which is the overall rating. So no mathematical equation is involved for me, but I can see why it would confuse people.

Quote:

Great review btw. I consider myself a fan. After the self titled 2012 album (which is my favourite) and their concept debut album this is a good 3rd place. I always respect musicians who actually has something to say with their music.

Thanks

I never explored Whitechapel beyond surface listening so it took me by surprise how emotionally driven this was. Hopefully that same approach continues, but it'll be interesting to see if they develop this sound or keep churning out samey material.
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I have no memory of this place.
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29.11.2019 - 00:46
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by s_t_s on 28.11.2019 at 22:37

Don't get me wrong, mellow is not bad yet it has to appeal to me and here it simply doesn't. I like some Slipknot albums and even some modern songs by In Flames. Hard to explain, it just goes "bing" in my head but here nothing works like that... Not the brutal parts either btw.

That's fair, I would say the same applies to me for most of their discography. I was actually expecting the same from this but felt compelled to review it after enjoying it as much as I did. At least you have their back catalog to return to when the urge strikes.
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I have no memory of this place.
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29.11.2019 - 15:35
s_t_s
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.11.2019 at 00:46

Written by s_t_s on 28.11.2019 at 22:37

Don't get me wrong, mellow is not bad yet it has to appeal to me and here it simply doesn't. I like some Slipknot albums and even some modern songs by In Flames. Hard to explain, it just goes "bing" in my head but here nothing works like that... Not the brutal parts either btw.

That's fair, I would say the same applies to me for most of their discography. I was actually expecting the same from this but felt compelled to review it after enjoying it as much as I did. At least you have their back catalog to return to when the urge strikes.


You got my point here and I really love their self titled album, it's so full of energy ! But from the direction they have taken I shouldn't expect any return to the old formula. Too bad; need to find other bands to listen to. :p
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29.11.2019 - 20:44
Nejde
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.11.2019 at 00:43

Written by Nejde on 28.11.2019 at 18:51

I've always wondered how MS staff rate the albums.

I can't say for others, but the 4 category ratings I consider to be more of an "objective" section of the review independent of my personal score, which is the overall rating. So no mathematical equation is involved for me, but I can see why it would confuse people.

I accept and respect that explanation. Also people have a tendency to just look at the rating. Low rating, not worth making their own opinion. High rating, better check it out. Without a rating you actually need to read the review and then decide whether or not to listen to the album and make your own opinion of it. I think RaduP wrote something in a post about why he doesn't give ratings in his reviews. For me, I don't mind ratings even if I think they can point you in the right direction. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is what you think. I couldn't care less what other people think, if I like I listen to it

Quote:

I never explored Whitechapel beyond surface listening so it took me by surprise how emotionally driven this was. Hopefully that same approach continues, but it'll be interesting to see if they develop this sound or keep churning out samey material.


They've come pretty far since The Somatic Defilement. To go from a concept album based on Jack the Ripper, in which all of the songs are first-person narratives of the slaughter and rape of prostitutes (the lyrics are quite disturbing) to make a highly personal album which is disturbing in a completely different way shows how much they've matured. So hopefully they keep evolving.
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"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
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