WHITECHAPEL are a band that have dominated the deathcore scene since their defining album The Somatic Defilement in 2007. Since then, they have kept fans at their heels with crushingly heavy releases such as This Is Exile, Our Endless War and Mark Of The Blade. This August, the band hosted a sold-out warm-up show in the sweatbox known as The Underworld in Camden for their main stage performance at Bloodstock. We went down to taste the mayhem.
After a last-minute line-up change, first to open the show were Lincoln metalcore crew BORDERS. Surprisingly enough, they put on an absolutely cracking show. We went expecting the usual first-support fare of head-bobbing and pint-sipping, but found the opposite. Gas-masked men dominated the pit and people screamed the lyrics back to the vocalist like they were headlining. Evidently their grinding away at the metal scene in the south has paid off, as many of the crowd were not strangers to their music. On top of that, their tightness and live sound was really top notch, and hit very hard even in such a small venue.
Main support came from death-metal heavyweights ABHORRENT DECIMATION. This band were no strangers to venues like this, and looked very much at home on the stage. The guitarist and bassist loomed over the crowd on the elevated stage and the vocalist absolutely owned it. Their attractive blend of classic death metal and modern tech metal kept many in the audience happy, especially the WHITECHAPEL fans. It must be noted that despite their higher placing on the bill, the band’s music did not seem to energise the crowd in the same way that their predecessors did. It did go down well overall, however, and there was a heart-warming shoutout for the vocalist’s barber. Death metal is still going strong, it seems.
After a very long time in between sets, WHITECHAPEL finally took to the stage to thunderous applause. Phil Bozeman instantly enveloped the room with his presence, and his studio-perfect harsh vocals tore through the room. The choice of songs for the set were absolutely perfect, opening with classics from hugely successful 2015 album Our Endless War and travelling back in time through their discography. Highlights included the appearance of two of their very old songs, Vicer Exciser and Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation, for which the crowd went absolutely insane. Their classic breakdowns tore the room apart on many occasions, and the sinister and intimidating security at The Underworld had their work cut out. Their fill-in drummer nailed all of his parts, and for the most part the rest of the band were pretty tight as well. The band finished on them massive riff-fest of Diggs Road, and played an encore of their hit This Is Exile. One couldn’t help feeling that they could have played a couple more songs in the time they had, but with what they did, they proved beyond doubt that they’re still incredibly relevant in today’s deathcore scene.