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Whitechapel – ‘Kin’

Metal Blade Records
Carnifex, A Perfect Circle, Fallujah
Release Date
October 29, 2021
Metal Blade Records

A statue forged by its creator, majestic in every way, its essence pure and gleaming like bleached bone … but with time comes change, and with change, if one allows the hands of nature to take control, it can transfigure a monument into something serein…ethereal, for even a flower that blooms shall wither, and through its death will spring forth beauty…again change and time. Just like the statue that begins to weather, its exterior beginning to chip away, its miniscule details eroded into different shapes, to another this may seem obscene to the original design, ‘How dare time change that which was created’…but if one resists not the flow of change and time, without vision, you will see that is the natural course of change for which has bestowed such an arcane spirit upon all that was once conceived.

To me, personally, this statement shows truth where Whitechapel’s eight album, ‘Kin’ is concerned, for the band has presented a creation that molds the facets of sorrow, rage and serenity into one cohesive being, but what is admired, is that album feels not contrived in its crafting process, meaning, the waves of extremity wherever they reverberate arrives not from hands that purposely cracks the marble statue, instead it is sculpted through the years of organic change but most importantly it is the emotional content that breathes life into this vessel.

Yes, emotional content…it is a word that may seem alien where Whitechapel is concerned, for the architecture of their first three albums (you can also consider the first five) was built from a vehement energy, its skeletal structure became the blueprint in which the off springs from the womb of Deathcore followed. Titans in their own right, but while talent did course through their veins, such words as sorrow, tranquility would never escape the tongue of anyone when mentioning Whitechapel, however, it is those visceral human elements that to me makes ‘Kin’ their magnum opus.

It is but in the slower moments, the moments that pause time and allows one to bask in the waters expelled by the mouth of this band, this is where the album thrives, songs such as ‘Orphan’, ‘Anticure’ and ‘Kin’ displays an aspect of the band that to me as an avid listener never knew existed. For it is like inheriting the scars of the past, the scars that ceases not to heal, and the flesh lays vulnerable, where even the slightest trickle of brine that seeps into the skin can magnify the pain intensely…so too does Whitechapel succeed in evoking such tides of emotions upon the listener, because of these ….tender moments , it is why I would treasure these aspects more than the older, for the waters that nurtures these songs comes from the a source that have been mixed with the ichor of despair.

But what exactly emanates this maelstrom of emotions is the arrangement of the musical patterns, for all variables coalesce into a singular entity, as they feed off each other’s spirit. Think of the aura of Katatonia (‘The Fall of Hearts’ album) fused with the rawness of the instrumentation emitted by Sólstafir ( ‘Otta’ album) this is how I would delineate the foundation for which these somber songs exist. But it is not only the melodic essence that radiates in its splendor, it is also the vocals of Phil Bozeman, but the clean vocals to be precise is the air that wills the atmosphere into a vessel of cordolium where the listener can absorb the notes etched within the walls, where the ceiling shifts to the melancholia of the delivery.

But what about the heavier components, are they prevalent? Yes, they are, for Whitechapel has not dissociated themselves with that which gave them their distinct sound, however, here it is used in a more natural progression, like the calloused hands that can carve the delicate eyes and lips of a seraphic figure, those same hands can twist and break the neck like a porcelain doll…beauty disfigured. In other words, the aggression that permeates throughout ‘Kin’ exposes itself where needed, where anger is present, so too does the vocals shift to portray this, songs such as, ‘Lost Boy’ and ‘A Bloodsoaked Symphony’ showcases this, where the harsh vocals no longer is used as an effect to foster a presence of calamity but instead it has now evolved into a conduit to channel the different shades of human emotions, showing the juxtaposition that exists within each one.

I do understand that there will be fans who adore the older material, and some who wish for the band to harken back to their roots, but I often wonder, why? Why unearth and trim that which has grown deep within the soil and prospered? Do I wish for them to relive the glory days of ‘This is Exile’ … no not really, for those albums are great because they exist…it happened, and rightfully so, I can always go back to that period if I so wish to…this course which the band is upon continuing from ‘The Valley’ is one I am most eager to observe where the currents take them. As I prefer to see a sky in which the jewel burns bright to witness it naturally fade into the ebony sea as day blends into night, rather than the blue ceiling to be prematurely blacked out. For this very reason, it is why ‘Kin’ is an excellent album for it balances both aspects yet explores the labyrinths of each variable producing an earnest result.

“Whitechapel taps into the vein that springs forth a well teeming with that of raw emotional content”

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