Extreme metal titans Whitechapel are back with a new and somewhat surprising release entitled The Valley. Don’t be put off by the term ‘surprising’, as everything you would expect from a Whitechapel is here and intact: the speed, the crushing, down-tuned riffs, and Phil Bozeman’s insanely guttural, emotion-laden vocals are all present and accounted for and are more than enough to keep the pit fuelled for the tour cycle to come. One needs to look no further than the disc opener, “When a Demon Defiles a Witch”, and the track “Forgiveness is Weakness”. Both of which are classic, face melting Whitechapel.
What is surprising, to me, is the inclusion of slow, moody acoustic songs like “Hickory Creek” and “Third Depth”, which feature Bozeman switching out the growling for clean, and rather good, vocals. It is something that was unexpected and actually, in the end, more personal and powerful, giving the record more depth. As usual with a Whitechapel record, Bozeman uses these songs as a form of catharsis by dealing with events from his childhood. For me, the dramatic shift in tempo, sound and voice take the listener on an emotional journey filled with ups and downs and go a long way to really connecting the listener to that experience.
I tip my hat to these guys for taking chances and succeeding in a big way. I think The Valley is a great record from a band that continues to evolve and stay relevant.
It’s Old Testament metal, all fire and “Brimstone”.
The Valley Track Listing:
01. When a Demon Defiles a Witch
02. Forgiveness is Weakness
04. Hickory Creek
05. Black Bear
06. We Are One
07. The Other Side
08. Third Depth
10. Doom Woods
Run Time: 40:33
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Record Label: Metal Blade Records