After 10 years and six albums, Tennessee’s Whitechapel are not only on the brink of stepping into the big leagues of metal but, more importantly, deserve to be playing in the majors. With the release of their latest record, Mark of the Blade, these Southern sons of a bitch have easily put out one of the top 10 metal albums of the Year, yes. You heard it here first. Mark of the Blade is such a badass motherfucker you could call it Oedipus.
When you use a producer like Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse) it’s pretty much a sure thing that you are going to get one great sounding piece of music. But, the real magic of this record is simply the musicians who are not only phenomenal at what they do but, more importantly, love what they do. And, it shows. Everything about Whitechapel simply screams “class act,” from the time and dedication they have put on the road for the past 10 years to their love of their fans and to the increasing growth and quality in each album they have put out. Their discography is a master class in heavy metal. And, this “perfect storm” accounts glowingly for what is contained within Mark of the Blade.
As always, frontman Phil Bozeman‘s vocals are up front and in your face, and he is easily one of the best metal vocalists these days. At times he reminds the listener of one Mr. Phil Anselmo during his heyday in Pantera. The triple (Yes, triple!) guitar attack of ax-wielders Ben Savage, Zach Householder and Alex Wade seem to give the Whitechapel sound that little bit of extra depth and dimension. But what really cements the sound of the band is bassist Gabe Crisp and drummer Ben Harcelrode who build the blunt force foundation of each track. And, I have to say Harcelrode is pretty much the MVP of this record. His drumming is fucking spectacular.
Stand out cuts are easily the title track, “The Void” and the album dark opus, “Decennium.” All I know is that Mark of the Blade is going to be on my iPod for quite a long time, quite possibly until they release their seventh album.
Mark of the Blade is out now on Metal Blade Records. Buy it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):