Whitechapel – Our Endless War (Metal Blade Records)Monday, 28th April 2014
Two years on and the time for another Whitechapel indulgence has come upon us. It’s not a complete wash as in indulgences past (and they’ve fortunately moved on from the guitars playing slow and the drums in eternal blast-city), but even at 40 minutes, redundancy and blandness wins the day. Considering the band’s intended demographic and the things that go along with that, this is understandable, if still no less regrettable, state of affairs. Our Endless War is a tempest of potential and expectation wrestling and the only winner emerging being that of searing mediocrity.
On the bright side, the album’s front-half is loaded in pop-fashion with the album’s strongest cuts, especially one of the initial eponymous single “Our Endless War.” It’s simple and the djent and Slipknot borrowings that emerged on Whitechapel are completely in the fore here. That being said, taken for what it is, it’s an okay time, especially on a lonely Friday night. Follow up “The Saw Is The Law” doesn’t fare quite as well, featuring a slower approach of pummel-happy guitar work and at times almost rapped verses. “Mono” meanwhile out of the gate sounds like straight up Iowa-era Slipknot and, oddly enough, it’s the album’s strongest piece, lean in its execution of structure and quality chorus.
The good times do not last, however, as once the halfway point is breached the album quickly devolves into slogging through familiar tropes of pound-blast-pound and repeat, with neither the hooks nor the memorable asides that highlight the singles. Some welcome quiet abounds in the latter half of “Psychopathy” but it’s too little too late when taken within context of the material around it. By the time closer “Diggs Road” and its many echoes of yesteryear’s melo-deth fade away, it’s surprising to find how long of a release 40 minutes can be when things aren’t clicking. More variable than any previous release but still lacking a real identity beyond mass acceptance, your mileage will vary heavily with Our Endless War. For what it is, you could certainly do worse but, given how stacked this year has been so far, you could certainly do better.
Still have no idea why the band has three guitarists; it’s yet to be apparent in practice.