Turns out those dudes in Whitechapel are going to be alright. About a decade removed from the great Deathcore rush, this Knoxville unit is still putting up strong numbers and successfully exploring beyond the confines of the genre. And if you enjoyed the genre line blurring on 2019s The Valley, well it turns out Kin (Metal Blade) is willing to venture further out into the woods.
So, if you’re put off by the idea of clean singing or acoustic guitars then you should probably stop reading here and write off Kin. Thank you for stopping by and all, but quite frankly isn’t it nice that the era of bass drops, and mic-cupped growls is all but dead? I don’t even know if Kin counts as a deathcore release and that is its greatest strength. That’s not saying that Kin isn’t savagely brutal – oh, we’ll talk about that – but the most surprising aspect is the musical variety and how much Phil Bozeman lets loose with his impressive singing voice.
Think of The Valley’s ‘Hickory Creek’ as a primer for what to expect on numbers like ‘Orphan’ or ‘History is Silent.’ ‘Orphan’ feels like it has the hooks and moodiness to play to the Tool and Deftones audience if not entice the Monster Energy/Bad Wolves crowd into trying out something heavier. Ben Savage’s savvy lead guitar work should get the approval from those whose musical tastes grew with Alice in Chains and the general Seattle sound. ‘Anticure’ has all three axemen putting in a shift and reverses the Atreyu songbook using soothing clean vocals to build into harsh bursts of fury that have Bozeman going full feral. Closing out Kin is its primarily acoustic title-track that utilizes the tried-and-true power ballad structure so effectively that in a perfect world it would be the centerpiece of a future MTV Unplugged set. Anyone remember MTV Unplugged? Well, Nirvana had a really great one.
But at the end of the day, this is a Whitechapel album and those usually have an abundance of blast-beats, ripping low-tuned guitars and just overall bone rattling sounds. That’s here too. ‘To the Wolves’ throws in lots of Black Metal moments and puts the spotlight on drum phenom Alex Rüdinger. ‘A Bloodsoaked Symphony’ sneaks in quietly enough only for the chunkiest guitar tone to set the stage for that signature Whitechapel mid-tempo crunch. The staccato riffs rain down conclusively on ‘Without Us’ cease for a moment only for the steel chair shots to begin again late.
Again, no need to worry about Whitechapel. They’ve got this.
Buy the album here: https://www.metalblade.com/whitechapel/
9 / 10