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Tuesday 16 November 2021

Reviews: Whitechapel, Waking The Cadaver, Groundbreaker, Insania (Reviews By Lee Burnell & Matt Bladen)

Whitechapel - Kin (Metal Blade Records) [Lee Burnell]

Knoxville Metal Powerhouses, Whitechapel return in what I can only describe as a truly underwhelming album. Whitechapel’s 9th album, Kin shows an attempt at progression from their deathcore past, but the album falls flat. Having followed their career since 2008’s This Is Exile, each album, including The Somantic Defilement has offered differences and maturity. The album is just ok, Phil Bozeman still has an amazing voice, and his lyric writing has really come on leaps and bounds as he injects a lot of personal experiences into his lyrics and Alex Rúdiger a fantastic addition to the line up with some brilliant technical drumming prowess on display throughout the album but for me, the guitaring is where the album doesn’t hold up. 

I Will Find You introduces a unique folk feel before the distorted guitars and drums kick into play. This track kept distracting me as I often found myself thinking about the intro and I must admit, with the band’s usage of clean vocals and now this, Whitechapel are sure to keep fans guess with what they bring into their musical repertoire. Whitechapel then give a taste of old with Lost Boy, hard hitting, classic Whitechapel that offers technical prowess across the board but then switches gears by introducing a clean bridge, clean vocals coupled with distortion-less guitars. A Bloodsoaked Symphony brings the heavy with the riffs relating to a djent-like bouncy feel with the timing of the guitar playing feeling often stalkerish in places. 

This is where I began to rapidly lose interest in the album, Anti-Cure did absolutely nothing for me. It was just a bland filler track. It just comes across as a bland radio rock track that often includes a gravelly growl but at this point on the first listen, I was concerned that the album would go downhill.………annnnnnnnnnd it does. Tracks such as History As Silent, Orphan, Without You/Without Us and the title track Kin show the direction the band are looking to go in to try and get a new audience but for me it’s a mediocre album that won’t live long in the memory 5/10.

Groundbreaker - Soul To Soul (Frontiers Music Srl) [Matt Bladen]

In this set of reviews I feel it's my duty to break up the heavy so what better way than with some AOR that is slicker than Vaseline covered Weasel. Formed around the talents of FM frontman Steve Overland and Frontiers' our man Friday Alessandro Del Vecchio. Unlike the debut album which saw Robert Sall (Work Of Art) collaborate with the duo, this time Overland and Del Vecchio write with Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Pete Alpenborg (Arctic Rain), Jan Akesson (Infinite & Divine), and Kristian Fyhr (Seventh Crystal). What you get here is AOR at it's most prim and polished, saccharine ballads such as Captain Of Our Love and Fighting For Love. 

While more melodic rockers like It Don't Get Better Than This and Wild World are ideal for Overland's soulful delivery, at times the album moves into the kind of soft rock Michael Bolton and Richard Marx were releasing in the early 90's, Overland also throws in some lead guitar on the latter. An all star cast of melodic rock musicians fill out the band and while the songs are all well performed there is very little that distances this from the previous Groundbreaker album. They aren't breaking any ground here, merely treading the same old tropes that all of these men have been a part of for years. Soul To Soul is like an old sweater, comfortable but uninspired. 6/10

Waking The Cadaver - Authority Through Intimidation (Unique Leader Records) [Lee Burnell]

New Jersey’s Waking The Cadaver return with their first album since coming back from their Hiatus in 2018, Authority Through Intimidation brings nothing but filth starting off with Civic Assault which is quite frankly nothing but deathcore at its finest. Don Campan’s ferocious vocals including a sexy as heck pig squeal, Mike Mayo’s technical guitaring, Marco Pitruzzella’s high energy drumming and Michael Thomas’ bass is a perfect combination to bring the pain and that’s what exactly what you get for near 27 minutes of this record. This album has it all, perfect pacing, phenomenal breakdowns which are some of the filthiest in recent memory and just pure aggression from start to finish, from Civic Assault all the way through to Authoritative Aggressor

The album is short but disgusting, with 8 tracks totalling 26 minutes 50 but, in my opinion, the album is timed to perfection. Having listened to albums that have one too many songs or the song lengths being longer than they perhaps should be, Waking The Cadaver have really hit the nail on the head with Authority Through Intimidation. Backed by Unique Leader records, who have put out sublime records by bands such as Abominable Putridity, Bound In Fear, Dyscarnate and Ingested, amongst others – Waking The Cadaver have added an absolute classic to this label’s already impressive list of albums. So, if you like your vocalists sounding like they’re vomiting their lyrics and your beats of the blast variety, absolutely get on this album, it’s one not to be missed! 9/10

Insania - V: Praeparatus Supervivet (Frontiers Music Srl) [Matt Bladen] 

Swedish power metal band Insania have had a bit of potted history. Forming in 1992, they were formed by bassist Tomas Stolt and drummer Mikko Korsbäck, who remain the band leaders to this day, but after four albums and numerous line up changes, they eventually called it a day in 2007. Now after 14 years they return with the fifth studio album, bringing back long term vocalist Ola Halén who joins Dimitir Kelski who was the bands former keyboardist (and bassist). Elsewhere guitarists Peter Östros and Niklas Dahlin come back into the fold as Dahlin handles the keys this time around for songs such as Solur

If you're still with me then I guess I should talk about the music and well if you love the European power metal style of Helloween or Stratovarius then V: Praeparatus Supervivet will instantly appeal, packed full of double kick drums, big choruses and solos galore this record is power metal 101 both vocalists having a slightly different style making Moonlight Shadow sound like a track from the latest Helloween record as both of them sing in unison very well. I'd never heard of Insania before this record, possibly due to their hiatus and ever changing line ups but on the evidence of this fifth record, it seems as if Insania are poised to get back into the power metal race with a bang! 7/10 

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