This is Knoxville's own si..... wait, huh? Really guys? Are you sure? Who are you fucking Lynyrd Skynyrd now? Yeah ok whatever... SIX piece, Whitechapel's debut album. Love them or hate them (including their utterly pointless 3rd guitarist, who almost definitely ISN'T Gary Rossington), Whitechapel have made a name for themselves since this first came out in 2007. Having recently returned from a headlining US tour the dirty half-dozen have worked their way up the ranks of modern heavy music on what appears to be a solid history of touring and putting out albums their swelling pimpled fanbase dig. The Somatic Defilement has been remixed and remastered by their label, Metal Blade and, well, here we are.

When I saw the title of this album, my eyebrows raised. While I really can't be bothered with the juvenile google-ish vocabulary, the opening line to "Make It Bleed", arguably Whitechapel's best "hit" from their newer self-titled effort opens with the line "We've been somatically defiled, exiled...". That was a conscious effort to give the past a nod. Utterly unfamiliar with the bulk of their catalog I wanted to see if this was some self-indulgent stretch at romanticizing their primordial deathcore or if what I had heard was in fact a return to previous form.

I saw these guys (and most of their deathcore cohort) as a flagship lost at sea. Endless waves of breakdowns drifting throughout the salty irrelevance. Navigating the murky waters with wide eyes, equidistant between uncooth and uninteligible but in search of some new, edgy form of aggressive music. Hard at work, but ultimately not enough wind in their sails just yet.

So what was Whitechapel really doing in 2007? Alright, I'm done being nice. This album fucking sucks donkey dick. While the opening title track did start off strong, and the closer "Articulo Mortis" deserves honorable mention, the bulk of The Somatic Defilement's constitution is sagging, sloppy and irrelevant. The problem isn't breakdowns, it isn't the desperate opining of guitar leads and it isn't even the vocals, it's that the sum is somehow worth decisively less than it's parts. For example at some point when you're writing an album, you have to put a limit on the number of times you play the "awkward-pause-in-lieu-of-a-mosh-transition" card. Whitechapel didn't get that memo in aught seven.

The album sounds decent now though (yes, I even listened to the old one, Brickhouse made me), the guitars are thick and menacing, the levels are perfect and the articulation is crystal clear, but at the end of the day a cat's asshole on an HD plasma screen is still just a cat's asshole.

I refuse to jump on the bandwagon of writing a band off simply because of their genre. Deathcore is much hated, especially on this site, myself included, but it's only a matter of time until someone breaks the mold and shakes things up by putting a new spin on the chug, not because of, but in spite of albums like this. Whitechapel's newest releases are far from excellent, and to be honest I wouldn't listen to them again, but they're no longer the incompetent band that wrote this steaming heap of cash grab.

Time Husk: Metal Blade shouldn't have re-released this, this band's future has nothing to do with it's past