Whitechapel "Mark Of The Blade"

So it's been six albums and Whitechapel is giving us what is probably their strongest effort since A New Era Of Corruption. As the band soared with their first three releases, they found themselves in a bit of a creative crunch trying to make it through the last several albums. While the band still reigns with three seven strings in tow, the audio assault here has improved drastically since the last two albums which saw PG-13 versions of the band, when the unrated stuff is what we've always been drooling over.
     There's a mature polish present here, and aside from the drums that are absolutely perfect in execution and production, the rest of the band feels to be in an elevated platform, performing at a much higher level than they ever have before. "Tremors" is an instant standout with a solid punch and respectable lyrics, while "Elitist Ones" finds the frontman Phil's vocal tones exposing a rather interesting approach. 
     While Mark Of The Blade won't have Whitechapel selling out 10K+ person venues, it does catapult the group above Carnifex, Suicide Silence and Thy Art who have each had struggles either internally or stylistically to connect with a broad audience. It also finds the vocals under control, in both style and content, to ensure the group isn't laughable in its approach six albums deep. It may be a few more Slipknot tours before the band finds themselves as headliners in the rock and metal world, but for the rest of us metalheads, there's more than enough meat on the bone here to get re-engaged if you've been distanced by the last few albums in what's been a relatively stable career.

* Has anyone else noticed the odd comparison between "The Void" and Meshuggah's "Combustion"? I sure know I did. The best part is Meshuggah still sounds light years ahead when their release was over seven years ago. 

- Edited 6/30/2016

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