Archive for the ‘Whitechapel’ tag
Last month, the death metal band Whitechapel, which calls East Tennessee home and includes three members from Blount County, announced the details of its new album, “Our Endless War,” due out April 29. The first single — “The Saw Is the Law” — was released shortly thereafter, and earlier this week the boys released the song “Mono” to Alternative Press.
We finally got an opportunity to catch up with guitarist Alex Wade, and needless to say, he and his bandmates are more than a little excited about the next step on their journey of brutality.
It wasn’t long ago that Whitechapel was like so many other metal bands around Blount County. Wade, a 2004 Maryville High School graduate, and bass player Gabe Crisp (William Blount High School, class of 2004) joined up with guitarist Ben Savage and vocalist Phil Bozeman of Knoxville and named the band after an impoverished district of London where serial killer Jack the Ripper brutally murdered prostitutes in 1888. Former drummer Kevin Lane and guitarist Brandon Cagle were part of the mix back then, and Whitechapel became scene darlings at places like Alnwick Community Center and the Springbrook Rec Center in Blount County.
After Cagle left the band following a motorcycle accident, 2007 Maryville High graduate Zach Householder came on board shortly after “The Somatic Defilement” was released. In 2008, Whitechapel made the jump to respected label Metal Blade, releasing the album “This Is Exile” and garnering larger and larger followings at shows across the country, many with top-name metal acts. In 2010, the group released “A New Era of Corruption,” an album that sold 10,500 copies during its first week of release and entered the Billboard charts at No. 43, practically unheard of for a death metal act. The band’s self-titled album, released in 2012 debuted at No. 47 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, No. 10 on the Top Independent Albums chart and on charts in both Canada and Germany.
For “Endless War,” the guys are hitting the road for most of April, and no doubt future tour dates will be announced soon. No word yet, however, on when the next East Tennessee show will be. Here’s our Q&A with Alex Wade:
1) The album was cut at your house here in Blount County, right? How was this experience the second time around?
Alex: Correct, we recorded this album exactly how we did our self-titled record in 2012. We tracked the drums at our producer Mark Lewis’s studio, Audio Hammer, in Sanford, Fla., and then came back up to Tennessee and tracked the guitars, bass and vocals at my home studio in Louisville (in rural Blount County). We find being able to be at home when recording really helps the process as we are more relaxed when we’re working at home.
2) From what I’ve heard so far, there seems to be a renewed focus, a laser-like intensity to this record, that may have been missing from the last one. Is that my imagination, or does it feel that way to you guys as well?
Alex: I definitely would agree with that. Our self-titled record in 2012 was our first album with our new drummer Ben Harclerode, so we were still getting a feel of what it’s like writing and recording with him. On our new album “Our Endless War” we took that experience and the countless touring we had done to our advantage and it seemed to breed a whole new sound, something more focused and professional.
3) You mentioned some band challenges of late. What’s been going on, and when does the trigger get pulled to get Whitechapel going full throttle this year?
Alex: We were slated to perform at this year’s “Soundwave Festival” that spanned across the majority of Australia in February, but had to cancel our appearance due to the death of a member’s immediate family. It was hard for us because we don’t like disappointing our fans by having to cancel shows, and aside from that we were missing getting to go to Australia, but life throws you curve balls sometimes and you have to be ready for them and pick yourself up and dust yourself off, which is what we’ve done. We used our extra time at home to focus on promoting our new album and are gearing up for a short string of tour dates in promotion of its release in April.
4) How goes life in Blount County for you and the rest of the local contingent? Still glad to call this place home?
Absolutely, I tell people all the time that I have traveled the world multiple times and I would still never live anywhere else but here. With our lifestyle being so fast and loud, it’s nice to be able to come home to somewhere that’s quiet and laid back, where we can unwind and enjoy a few cold brews with good friends on the back porch.
Following the announcement earlier this month of the closure of Knoxville concert venue The Valarium comes news of new ownership.
Daniel Leal, former owner of 4620 Reinvented (where The Well is located now) and current owner of Ooga Mooga’s Tiki Tavern, took ownership Nov. 12, he confirmed to me this weekend. No word yet on whether the name will remain the same or what other changes might be in store — including what role adjacent club The Cider House might play in the operation — but one thing’s for certain: There will be rock shows. Already on the schedule: The “Brothers of Brutality” tour, featuring Emmure and Blount/Knox-based death metal band Whitechapel, set for Jan. 8.
I’ll post more info as I find it out; word is an official announcement is coming Thursday.
UPDATE: That industrious little Knox weekly Metro Pulse followed up on my announcement with some tidbits of their own, including the name change: Blackstock Auditorium. You can read MP’s blog post here.
Back in March, we told you about how the boys in death metal band Whitechapel — three of whom are from Blount County (singer Phil Bozeman and guitarist Ben Savage are Knox County boys) — were working on a new album at guitarist Alex Wade’s house out in Louisville.
Today, the band’s label Metal Blade revealed details, including the cover art: It’s self-titled and slated for release on June 19; the first single, “Hate Creation,” is streaming here and the track listing is as follows:
- Make it Bleed
- Hate Creation
- I, Dementia
- Section 8
- Dead Silence
- The Night Remains
- Possibilities of an Impossible Existence
The band continues its “ReCorruptour” with Miss May I, After the Burial, The Plot In You and Within the Ruins on Thursday in Louisville, Ky. On June 30, the band will join the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Slipknot, Slayer and As I Lay Dying.
After The Unashamed broke up a few years back, drummer Michael Knouff parlayed his musical experience into a hardcore metal project called Waste and Regret. The 2004 Heritage High School graduate played drums in The Unashamed, but his experience on guitar gave W&R a plodding, Euro-metal sound that ran the gamut from speed/thrash on some songs to Mastodon-inspired dirges to Fates Warning-style operatic metal. All in all, it was a hell of a talented band, and the group played a number of shows with Whitechapel and other Metal Blade Records bands.
“We played with Whitechapel and Destroy Destroy Destroy; we played with The Protomen, whom I’m really good buds with,” Knouff told me this week. “We just wanted to play. We didn’t care who we played with; all we cared about is if we liked them and they liked us. We were going to play the show even if we were the oddballs, and that worked really well. I wasn’t having to do much booking; people were coming to me.”
But Knouff found himself doing more and more of the work and having more and more problems with his bandmates, whom he had recruited to start W&R in the first place. He eventually stepped away from the band, and because he owned the songs and the name, the other members tried to regroup under a different moniker but drifted apart after a couple of shows.
“I just didn’t want to do it anymore,” Knouff said. “I got away from it because I knew it wasn’t a healthy place for me to be, and there was some deep-seeded anguish and some bitter, bitter resentment. I was kind of thinking, ‘Do I continue doing this? Was it worth it, getting mistreated just to get where I wanted to in life?’”
From the end of 2009 until April of this year, he dabbled in other projects, playing as a fill-in drummer with other bands, doing acoustic sets, releasing an electronica EP and recording other groups in his own studio. At the beginning of 2011, he got out to the first show he’d attended in a while, and old friends who were glad to see him began asking about the status of Waste and Regret.
“I decided that if people really liked what you were doing and wanted you to get out and start playing, why not start this stuff back off again?” he said. “In recording different bands and being a guest musician, it taught me that maybe this is what I should be doing.”
And so with a brand new lineup — Mac Beightol (of the group Fenrir and a 2011 grad of Alcoa High) on bass; his old Unashamed bandmate Nick Clayton on keyboards; drummer Brad Rosson, a 2011 Heritage grad and a member of 1,000 Plane Raid; and vocalist Taylor Smiddy, who started Faces Over Olympus, the predecessor to Fenrir — Waste and Regret is back in action and ready to rock. The band will do so at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at The Longbranch Saloon, 1848 Cumberland Ave. (”The Strip”) in Knoxville. The show includes Fenrir, Exsected and Tabula Rasa, and admission is $5.
“We can go hang out, and everybody just starts talking about Waste and Regret like it was some big mythical legend,” Knouff said. “I didn’t think I made that big of an impact, but I guess we kind of did. The younger guys have the excitement for what we’re doing. You can hear it, and you can feel it in this specific reincarnation of the band. We’re focusing right now on the older songs that everybody likes, but instead of doing what you’ve heard before, we’re fleshing them out and freshening them up. We’re doing what I wanted to do back in 2008, which is have somebody play synthesizer.”
The website Noisecreep reported it first, and since the boys in Whitechapel are East Tennesseans, it wasn’t long until Knoxville’s alternative weekly Metro Pulse picked up the news: The guys had been arrested and fined in Germany after destroying a motel room.
The story has it all — rock ‘n’ roll, debauchery, excess, clashes with the law. As it was put out there, Whitechapel guitarist (and one of three Blount Countians in the band) Alex Wade told me this afternoon, it’s an awesome story. Problem is, it’s just not true.
Yes, the cops were called when a couple of drinks led to a fire extinguisher mishap. Yes, it was a debacle, since the cops didn’t speak English very well and the band’s tour manager had to translate and settle the situation. And yes, hotel management probably weren’t saddened to see the guys move on to the next tour stop in Amsterdam with The Acacia Strain. But that’s about all there was to it, Wade said.
“Basically, the story is slight true but fabricated to be way bigger than it was to make a better story,” Wade said. “No one got arrested or ‘detained.’ While it’s slightly humorous and a good ‘tour story,’ I don’t want our band to be seen in that light, you know? We aren’t Motley Crue back in the day; I don’t want people thinking we’re disrespectful party animals.”
Indeed, their mamas — who are proud of their boys — would likely snatch them up by the ears if they thought otherwise.
The band is currently on a break from the road before getting back to it on the “Summer Slaughter Tour” with The Black Dahlia Murder.
Metal fans are some of the most inquisitive and obsessive, so when the Knoxville/Maryville-based death metal outfit Whitechapel announced the departure of drummer Kevin Lane in December, all sorts of spectulation started up on the Interwebs.
NeuFutur Magazine addressed the lineup change (former Knights of the Abyss drummer Ben Harclerode is now behind the kit for Whitechapel and has been gelling with the rest of the band, which is off until the tour begins with a show at The Valarium on Thursday, Feb. 10; he’s shacking up with Gabe Crisp at Crisp’s parents’ home in Maryville’s Royal Oaks community) last month.
Lane’s statement on the situation: “Over the past years I’ve had the experience of a lifetime and gotten to travel the world with not only a great band of musicians but some of my best friends. Unfortunately that time has come to an end. My playing had a falling out over the past year, thus I’ve decided to come home for good and go back to school full time. The past few tours I had the privilege of my good friend Gavin Parsons to fill my shoes and now another phenomenal drummer who I believe will do leaps and bounds of improvement to the band as a whole, Ben Harclerode has moved into the position until the decision for a full time drummer has been made. Thank you to everyone for all of your support.”
Guitarist Alex Wade lamented Lane’s departure, pointing to his longtime friendship with each of the member’s of Whitechapel.
“It’s one thing for a band member to do something wrong and get kicked out, but that didn’t happen here,” Wade told me. “Kevin had to quit, and we needed some new blood. Ben is awesome, and he’s definitely what the band needed.”
When the band flies out to Europe, they’ll be going as headliners, a first for the group. Of course, that has its disadvantages as well, Wade noted.
“Man, we always get patted down — even at McGhee-Tyson (the airport in Blount County, where Wade, Crisp and guitarist Zach Householder live when not on tour)!” Wade said. “I remember we were on our way to California for the Golden God Awards — kind of like the Grammys for metal — and people were going through security with no problems. Everything was fine, and then we walked up in black shirts and full (tattoo) sleeves, and they put the brakes on.”
“Yeah. They practically strip searched us because we have tattoos,” Crisp noted wryly.