Published Jun 22, 2016Commemorating their ten-year anniversary, Knoxville, TN's Whitechapel unleash Mark of the Blade. The band have been moving further away from their deathcore sound over the last few years, changing their logo with 2014's Our Endless War and incorporating a more dynamic style that finds the band weaving thrash-style riffs and classic death metal melodies through the groove-filled numbers. Mark of the Blade picks up where Our Endless War left off, but takes things a step further, in a number of directions.
"The Void" and the title track are quintessential Whitechapel, featuring catchy deathcore grooves. The album gets more diverse with "Elitist Ones," which contains atmospheric tones, yet still maintains the band's aggressive approach, but it's "Bring Me Home" where things really start to change, adding clean vocals and more ethereal melodies, sounding like a completely different band. Whitechapel get back to brutal with "Tremors," while "Tormented" features dark, chugging riffs and "Venomous" blazes with ferocious grooves.
But "Decennium" ends the release with more Corey Taylor-esque clean vocals, which take away from the impact of the release. Although it's expected that after a decade, the band would want to incorporate new elements into their sound in order to move forward, Mark of the Blade is a bit hit-and-miss. Musically, the new touches work well and flow with the rest of the album, but the clean vocals in particular feel forced and sorely out of place. (Metal Blade)