Take a recording of Fozzy Bear catching a paw in the blades of a lawn mower, play it at half-speed, and voila!; you have Phil Bozeman, voice of Whitechapel. The rest of the band supplies choppy, dirty riffs with the occasional tremoloed diminished-seventh arpeggio thrown in. The result is a polished, well-produced, and relentless chug through the darker cul-de-sacs of the soul, a metaphysical audio journey with all the light and shade of a massacre in a steel factory.
These kids are angry about something, but what? I’d got through a song and a half before I realized Bozeman was singing not just sounds but words, and the lyric sheet provides an ambitious list of foes, culminating in the apocalyptic catch-all “You’re all a fucking waste of life… fuck your kind,” a sentiment that doesn’t stop the band all rather sweetly thanking their parents in the liner notes.
The whole thing certainly terrified me, yet by the end of the record I felt beaten into a certain respect for both the band and their fans. As Bozeman sings on “Eternal Refuge,” “I submit to whoever is causing this pain.”