Whitechapel – Kin (Metal Blade Records) – 29th October 2021

Whitechapel has been representing east Tennessee for nearly fifteen years. The Knoxville bred group was established in 2006 and the band was signed to Metal Blade Records in 2007. The six-piece metal band is comprised of Phil Bozeman (vocalist), Ben Savage (lead guitarist) Alex Wade (rhythm guitarist), Zach Householder (third guitarist) Gabe Crisp (bass guitarist), Alex Rüdinger (drummer). Though the pandemic shut down the tour early for their seventh album, The Valley, the band decided to take advantage of the lockdown and began methodically working on their eighth album. The eleven-track album from the band titled Kin, took ten-months to complete and touches on some weighty family-related topics. The upcoming album flows seamlessly from its predecessor that depicted the frontman’s childhood trauma.

It’s a fictional representation of a non-fictional story. I’m coming from a ‘what if’ standpoint. I’m also representing it in a way that conveys a more deep and dark frame of mind. This is all about what I could’ve been, had I decided to take the dark road. For the sake of storytelling, there are supernatural elements in play here as well.

Phil Bozeman

The first track on the album, I Will Find You, starts with an acoustic intro and gives off a southern rock vibe that feels like a slight nod to some southern rock greats. As the acoustic guitar begins to fade to the background and the drums kick in, the song takes a heavier turn, yet still holding on to a southern rock tone. By minute three Bozeman gives you a small taste of the more refined melodies to come. At this point, you’ll find yourself fully invested in where this song and album are going to go.

Though the first song may have had you fooled into believing you were getting a ‘softer’ album from the band, the second song and first single, Lost Boy, flips the switch and floods your ears with an all too familiar sound. This track can’t be described as anything other than nostalgic Whitechapel. After belting out some hardcore vocals for two and a half minutes, the frontman drops an eerily beautiful vocal change, that leaves you holding your breath.

Underneath my shadow is a snake
And it’s telling me that I should run far away

Lost BoyWhitechapel

Bloodsoaked symphony, the second single off the album, gives off a slightly Metallica feeling intro but in the end offers us a deathcore masterpiece. The melodic choruses from the previous songs will not be found on this track. This ferocious  song appears to be based on Bozeman’s real-life narrative of losing his parents. The heavy tone of this song, surprisingly pairs well with the taboo topic that is the grieving process. The lyrics are finely crafted and emotionally chilling. 

Mother, I pray that your voice sings me to sleep
To save my sanity from the sound of this blood-soaked symphony
Father, I pray that your hand is warm again
My pain will never end until you both come back to me

Bloodsoaked SymphanyWhitechapel

Many have compared Orphan, the band’s most recent release from the album, to Hickory Creek, a track from Kin’s predecessor, The Valley. I can’t say that I disagree with the fans conclusion. This song may be the most subdued one the band has given us to date and is a drastic contrast from the previous single. But don’t be mistaken, this song further proves that the band can do it all. Though the frontman is better known for his deep bellowing growls, Orphan showcases his impressive and finely tuned vocal abilities.  

Orphan represents the battle of accepting what reality has given me within the story of Kin, and the battle between me and my alternate reality’s realm.

Phil Bozeman

Is that your voice that I hear
Is that the touch that I had once feared
Is that the way that you look now
Is this what we are

OrphanWhitechapel

The last track Kin, rounds out the album nicely. This song continues to show us how dynamic Bozeman’s voice is. The song also demonstrates that the band can reign it in and deliver a more mellow song from start to finish, but still make it feel like you’re listening to Whitechapel. The last track also eludes that the story they’ve been telling through their lyrics spanning the last two albums has come to an end. 

 

Our delusion is the easy way out
But it’s time for both of us to let this go

KinWhitechapel

Each song off this album has you entranced and metaphorically turning the page to anxiously continue this semi-fictional narrative. Although Kin could be seen as more rock-leaning, it absolutely did not disappoint. The eighth studio album as it is, is still fairly diverse and has the potential to bring fans from several different music communities together. Whitechapel certainly did not let us forget that they’re trailblazers of their genre. They undoubtedly proved that they won’t be pigeonholed and will continue to evolve and creatively explore other genres while staying true to their hardcore roots. 

Whitechapel online:
Whitechapel.com
Metal Blade Records
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