In case you don’t know, or are just a little death metal curious, Whitechapel formed in 2006 and are an American heavy metal /death metal band from Knoxville, Tennessee. The group comprises of vocalist Phil Bozeman, the three guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade, Zach Householder and rounding it off, bassist Gabe Crisp and new(ish) drummer Ben Harclerode.
Naming themselves after the location in London where the infamous Whitechapel murders were committed by Jack the Ripper, and have also used their moniker as the name of their latest and fourth studio album, Whitechapel. There, now you’re up to speed.
Tone Deaf rang Alex Wade at his home in Tennessee whilst he, in a very un-death-metal-like manner, was preparing to relax by going fishing down the local lake; with this image in our minds we asked Wade about Whitechapel’s new self titled album and what fans can expect from their new effort. “It’s our strongest album, best to date,” Wade says enthusiastically.
“When a band labels it’s CD a self titled album,” the guitarist continues, “that is something special and that’s how we felt. It’s our most solid material to date and it definitely deserves the tag of being self titled”. Wade proclaimed that making their latest effort eponymous as “a statement – this is who we are.”
The band have previously released three other full-length studio albums, The Somatic Defilement (2007), This Is Exile (2008), A New Era of Corruption (2010),
So what can we expect from their latest record? “It’s a continuation of our two previous efforts (2010’s A New Era Of Corruption and 2008’ This Is Exile). It has our speed and ferocity, but it also has some slow grooves incorporated in it. It’s a CD that has something for everybody.”
In a pre-emptive statement, Wade counters the usual criticisms that sometimes raise their head when it comes to hardcore metal bands, “every song doesn’t sound the same in my opinion, every song sounds completely different”.
Well talking about different, the album starts and ends with some soothing piano music, is Whitechapel getting soft and sensitive? Wade assures us they’re not. “Ben wrote the piano parts and we had a session player come in and perform them”. Technically, you could say that Whitechapel still doesn’t play soothing piano music!
Comparing their latest to their previous work, Wade also touched on the band’s collaboration, “we worked a lot together on this [record] than we have on previous albums. I think you can definitely tell. Everything just sounds better than previous albums. Previously we would work on our own, this time we worked together, piecing it all together and it’s definitely displayed in the outcome.”
Many hardcore metal fans will recognise the producer Mark Lewis, especially from The Black Dahlia Murder albums, and Wade was positive about his experiences with the producer.
“Marks great! He is definitely on the same wavelength as us,” he says, “we had a ball with him. He is a great producer and it’s definitely the best mix and production we’ve ever had on an album. We flew down to Florida and did drums at Audio Hammer Studios and then drove back up to Tennessee and did the guitar and vocals at my house, which was kind of cool.”
Whitechapel have stated before that they’re influenced from a wide variety of bands, such as Aborted, Dying Fetus, Nile, Pantera, Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot. Many of who, coincidentally, Whitechapel will be playing alongside at the Mayhem Festival 2012.
Playing the entirety of the month-long American festival, Mayhem kicks off the band’s next touring schedule. “We have time off at the moment, then we got the Mayhem Festival, then off to Europe, which will be pretty cool to play our new songs off the new record for our European fan base.”
What about their Australian fans? Any chance of seeing them in the near future? “Hopefully we will be back in Australia in 2013, we were booked for the Soundwave Revolution last year but that got cancelled, so hopefully we will be invited soon for the next Soundwave.”
The band’s new album, Whitechapel is available right now however, and although its only ten tracks long – coming in at a little under 40 minutes – it’s a very intense listen.
What about Wade? What’s he been listening to that he can recommend? “I’ve been listening to the Architect album [2012’s Daybreaker], they’re definitely one of my favourite bands at the moment, we’ve toured with them and they’re great guys as well.”
Friends and followers of metal alike, Whitechapel has something for any discerning hardcore fan.
Whitechapel is out now through Metal Blade recordings.