Sound — 10
Whitechapel's debut album shines in most areas, and let me tell you - the sound is no exception. This is where the album is at its best. Truly. Before listening to Whitechapel, my view on modern death metal was quite vague. I knew about the really popular bands, and kind of figured out what it was all about. But the bottom line was that I never really could connect to it. It bored me, and I really never thought I would ever become interested. Then came the year 2007. At the time, I was mainly listening to alternative rock and a bit of metal, but nothing heavy. I had heard about the band, but never put much thought into checking out the album. I figured that since I never could manage to involve myself in earlier death metal that this would be no exception. After a year of people making attempts to get me to listen to it, I caved. I went out and bought it. Keep in mind that I bought this two years ago...and yet I still listen to the album on a daily basis. The sound, in my opinion, is revolutionary. It is like no other album you will ever hear, and I can guarantee you that. It changed my entire perspective on the genre and turned me into a metal-head. It had the ridiculously heavy stuff that I had anticipated, but it also provided very smooth melodies. They were the first band I ever heard that successfully made that combination. It is absolutely brilliant, not to mention extremely complex. The guitar is a melodic wall of noise, the drums sound flawless (truly some of the most complicated beats I have ever heard), and the vocals - well, I'll get to that in the "Lyrics" section of the review. This alone would absolutely get a recommendation from me, but Whitechapel didn't stop there. The story that went along with this album is intense. My interpretation of it the story is basically the whole Jeffrey Dahmer scandal. The intro to the album, called "Necrotizing", actually involves a direct quote from Dahmer in his 1993 interview with Stone Philips. It is extremely graphic and disturbing, but yet so brilliant because the band managed to set the mood PERFECTLY to how the story was. Specific areas in songs actually could make you emotional, and as crazy as it seems, scared. There are multiple occassions where this took place throughout the album, but the one main part would be the outro to the song "The Somatic Defilement". I won't spoil it for you, but it is so apparent that the tone of everything is just so incredible.
Lyrics — 9
Whoever is the actual lyricist for Whitechapel must be a Harvard grad, because honest to God, there was so much effort put into these lyrics. Some albums just throw together some words just so that it looks good, but Whitechapel focused on this as much, if not MORE, than the other main aspects of it. What was done was brilliant - the lyrics were written mainly about cannibalism, murder, and necrophelia (the sexual attraction to corpses), and yet were so vivid and detailed that you almost felt sick just reading it. Not only that, but the style of writing is genius. There are times when the sentence formations actually feel like you're reading something by Shakespeare. It's truly incredible. The only criticism I have in terms of "The Somatic Defilement" lyrics is that each track on the album is about the same thing. There was no real differences between each song's lyrics, and it kind of makes it predictable. They are so well written, however, that it's kind of impossible not to appreciate what is there.
Overall Impression — 9
There is really not much else to explain. This album set a standard for metal to come, and I have a hard time believing that anyone will ever get to that level. The music is just amazingly well-done. The only negative thing I can say is that towards the end of the album (last 2 tracks mainly), it seems a bit sloppy in areas. It's by no means BAD, but the rhythm is sometimes a bit harder to enjoy. It kind of sounds like maybe the band was getting tired. Nonetheless though, this is one of the best metal albums of the decade, and certainly Whitechapel's best. I recommend this totally. Favorite song: Devirgination Studies Least Favorite Song: Vicer Exciser