Whitechapel – Kin
Released: October 29th, 2021
Phil Bozeman // Vocals
Ben Savage // Lead Guitar
Alex Wade // Rhythm Guitar
Gabe Crisp // Bass
Zach Householder // Guitar
Alex Rüdinger // Drums
Deathcore elites Whitechapel are veterans of the genre, which makes it easy to believe that their newly announced album Kin has been the talk of the town. Having embraced and conquered a new dynamic in their sound on their previous album The Valley in 2019, only one question remains, what will they do next? A lineup change and a global pandemic have kept us on our feet while looking in this band’s direction, have they overcome these challenges? Let’s have a look.
Kicking off this album is ‘I Will Find You’, acoustic folk deathcore is introduced which nods in the direction of The Valley. The tempo quickly changes and transitions into an upbeat tune with a lot of focus on the rhythm guitars. A howling guitar solo meshed with Phil Bozeman‘s clean vocals takes us to the song’s outro. At this point, I’m beginning to think that this album is going to be The Valley 2.0 and I am not complaining about it. The album’s lead single ‘Lost Boy’ brings back nostalgic appeal with guitar riffs that leave us reminiscing on the band’s earlier releases as seen on their album The Somatic Defilement. Phil’s ability to scream with the instrumentals, rather than just on top of them is one aspect that truly makes him exceptional and this track showcases that talent without fault. Clean vocals and a groovy guitar riff take us to the song’s end where Phil repeatedly screams “You are mine forever”.
‘A Bloodsoaked Symphony’ begins on the heaviest note on which the previous song left us. Chuggy low-tuned guitars lead the charge as Bozeman’s vocals leave me in awe. Drumming involving a lot of cymbal hits and double kicks simply adds to the huge theatrical sound that the group seemed to be going for. Whitechapel put their foot on the brakes when writing ‘Anticure’. I hate to make this comparison but to be transparent, the softly sung hooks strongly reminds me of Nickelback‘s work. None of the band’s usual flair that leaves us picking our jaw up from the floor is nowhere to be found in this track and it saddens me.
My attention is quickly recaptured as I hear the intro on ‘The Ones That Made Us‘. Chuggy mosh riffs result in me hanging on the edge of my seat as impressive drum work from newly permanent member Alex Rüdinger puts him in the spotlight. Blasts feel perfectly in place while that cymbal of his definitely has some serious dings in it. Yet again the band takes the softer approach on ‘History Is Silent’. Bursts of intermittent heaviness as Phil changes his vocals from clean to unclean are present as the instrumentals follow suit but to be frank, it isn’t enough to stop me from yawning.
Bringing the album back to the tempo that this band thrives on is ‘To The Wolves’. Fast-paced guitars lead the charge with impressive drumming following suit. I’m beginning to think that the band are using the same formula to write all their heavy songs on this album, which is chugging guitars during the verses, fast-paced unclean vocals which present in an almost mumble rap nature followed by a groove orientated guitar solo during the outro, which leaves me feeling as if this album is becoming stale quickly. Sadly, the Nickelback influences return with ‘Orphan’. I understand that this album may be much more lyrically focused than instrumentally focused, however, it feels as if they have used the copy and paste button and only changed a few minor things (insert ‘can I copy your homework’ meme here).
Kin‘s shortest track is ‘Without You’, standing at 60 seconds long is something fresh. An acoustic interlude that is the complete opposite of anything that Whitechapel has done before. It’s beautiful for what it is, but will it go down with fans of the band’s classic albums? I am simply unsure. It also serves as a drawn-out introduction for ‘Without Us’ which starts off strong and maintains that position for most of the song. The transitions between soft and heavy seem forced and unwarranted. Surprisingly enough, this song didn’t end with a guitar solo as all the other heavy songs on this album did, but rather a repetitive guitar chugg. I’ll let you decide what’s better. The album closes out with title track ‘Kin’. At first listen, I was desperately hoping for this album to finish off on a strong note but I have been disappointed one last time. It’s a soft acoustic ballad that has my eyes rolling while I think ‘not again!’. Finishing off the track is, you guessed it, another drawn-out and unnecessary guitar solo. It’s definitely not the end that I was hoping for, but at least it ended.
This album focuses heavily on lyrics while the importance of strong instrumentals fell to the wayside, the perfect balance they had on The Valley has diminished on Kin. On the other side, Whitechapel is now at the point in their career where they can afford to start experimenting with new sounds and see how far they can stretch that. Kin may attract new fans, but I feel as if the day one fans may find this album ultimately unsettling.
Whitechapel – Kin tracklisting:
- I Will Find You
- Lost Boy
- A Bloosoaked Symphony
- The Ones That Made Us
- History Is Silent
- To The Wolves
- Without You
- Without Us
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