Mark of the Blade
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: June 24, 2016
Mark of the Blade is a celebration of sorts for Tennessee based Extreme Metallers Whitechapel. The album celebrates the band’s successes as well as their tenth anniversary, and is a testament to how far they have evolved since the days of the spine-chilling The Somatic Defilement. While the band exhibit a lot more ‘core influence these days, their music is still as badass as any Soilent Green or Goatwhore record.
“Elitist Ones” is an immediate standout on Mark of the Blade. The band manage to take tough guy lyrics, Nu-Metal bounce, and big guitar solos (usually things I dislike) and transcend all labels, creating an Extreme Metal anthem for bad days along the way. The huge guitars that dominate the instrumental “Brotherhood” make for another excellent moment. The harmonious, battle-cry guitars seamlessly go from progressive to aggressive and back again and the dynamic it creates is solid evidence that, at least musically, Whitechapel may be the best Extreme Metal band around these days. The emotive “Bring Me Home” is both fascinating and moving, incorporating some clean vocals that evolve into vocalist Phil Bozeman’s gnarly bark. There is even a moment or two of progressive harmonies to round the song out. This is perhaps the album’s biggest risk taker and, in my opinion, it’s the album’s coolest moment.
Overall, there is plenty of aggression to go around on Mark of the Blade but there are also a lot of new tricks from these old dogs. This is the band’s most dynamic record to date and some diehard fans may dislike it for just that reason. Fortunately, the fact is that if you are a fan of Extreme Music Mark of the Blade is undeniably enjoyable trip. I’m excited to hear what the next decade brings!
Reviewed by mark1340