A lot of death metal bands take inspiration from dark and grisly subject matter, and Knoxville, Tennessee's Whitechapel are no different. Their name comes from the area in London where the notorious Jack The Ripper stalked and killed his victims.
The Somatic Defilement is the band's debut, and I had to crack open the dictionary to figure out what "somatic" meant. In case you're interested, it means "of or related to the body." In simpler words, the title means the polluting of the body. Now that we've gotten the English lesson out of the way, let's get to the music. Whitechapel's style is death metal blended with sludge and grind. It has the technicality of death, the thickness of sludge and the speed and brutality of grind.
It's tough to avoid monotony on death metal style albums, but Whitechapel does a good job varying the tempos. They go from lightning fast to glacially crushing and slow. They also throw in some guitar flourishes, synths and other small but effective parts that add a different twist. The band has three guitarists, which creates a wall of sound and allows for more creativity.
Phil Bozeman is Whitechapel's vocalist, and he is able to go from hellish low pitched cookie monster growls to high pitched shrieks, showing a lot of versatility. This is a very respectable debut, and if they keep developing, Whitechapel could become a force to be reckoned with in extreme metal.