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Next Whitechapel Album Will Feature (GASP!) Clean Vocals

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Watching the Metalnets as a whole collectively lose its shit when a metal band decides to venture into clean singing is never not funny. There are all sorts of reasons a band might decide to do so — commercial viability probably being pretty low on that list, contrary to popular belief, but that’s a topic for a different day — but it’s always amusing to me that clean singing is the one line a brutal metal band SHALL. NOT. CROSS.

So: Whitechapel seem poised to become the latest band to try clean singing on for size, as revealed by guitarist Alex Wade in a recently interview with Revolver [via The PRP], which is sure to send their fans into a tizzy:

I’m not gonna say the whole record is chuggy, but a lot of it is. And there are also passages that have a lot of atmosphere, as well as clean parts that let the songs breathe before we come back with something really heavy. If you’re playing really fast and you try to throw in a bunch of different guitar parts it just sounds like mush. But when you’ve got one guy barreling right down the middle and the other two complimenting the riff, it opens up new opportunities.

We all thought it was really cool how Randy [Blythe] from Lamb Of God wasn’t afraid to try some manly melodic vocals on their last record [VII: Sturm und Drang]. So Phil’s diving into that a little and seeing where it goes. He’s actually got a great singing voice.

While I’m sure a segment of their fanbase will be extremely put off by clean vocals, I’m of the mind that this kind of experiment is perfect for a band like Whitechapel. Though I’ve quite enjoyed the last couple of Whitechapel albums — this band has come a LONG way from their generic deathcore roots — they’re not exactly a band that metal purists latch onto; you’re never gonna see a bunch of guys and gals with backpatches on their leather jackets at a Whitechapel show, and they’re always going to be a band that was part of a given scene at a given time. In other words: they’re already kinda mainstream (by metal standards), so venturing further into that realm by adding clean vocals really isn’t that big of a leap. And, honestly, I think it could be a great move for them — imagine all the songwriting possibilities that will be opened up by the presence of a non-growled human voice. Whitechapel have been venturing further and further into being a songs-based band of late — check “Saw is the Law” from their last album, hooks for days! — and clean vocals will only help. It’s not as if Portal or Hooded Menace or even The Red Chord just started singing cleanly… this is Whitechapel we’re talking about.

So, yeah, now I might be even more excited for the next Whitechapel record than I would’ve been otherwise! The band just wrapped recording with Mark Lewis, and a summer release via Metal Blade is expected.

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