The Knoxville-based death-metal band Whitechapel continues its campaign to establish itself atop the genre's new generation. The band's new album, Whitechapel, released in June, reached #47 on the Billboard album chart and has earned almost uniformly positive reviews, not just from Alternative Press, Metal Hammer, and MetalSucks.com, but from Jon Caramanica of The New York Times.
"There is a militaristic certainty to Whitechapel's work, which activates the true thrills of masochism," Caramanica wrote on June 24.
Since forming in 2006, Whitechapel has outgrown the all-ages matinées it used to headline at the old Electric Ballroom and area recreation centers. The band—singer Phil Bozeman, guitarists Alex Wade, Ben Savage, and Zach Householder, bassist Gabe Crisp, and drummer Ben Harclerode—is currently performing on the touring Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Slipknot, Slayer, and Motörhead.
"As we've gotten bigger we've started to make more money and have made a career for ourselves," Wade says. "When we first started out we were sleeping in our van and living off $35 a week for food. Every band's got to put in their grunt work and we definitely did that. Now things are a lot easier. We tour in buses and get paid a salary. It's our career, its legitimately our career. None of us have any other jobs. It's nice that we're able to focus on the music and not have to worry about anything, financially, anymore."
Wade says the decision to use the band's name as the title of the new album, its fourth, was a statement of purpose.
"I feel like when a band self-titles a CD, it shouldn't be just any old CD," Wade says. "It needs to be something really special, something career-defining for them, and this CD was definitely that for us."
The band last played Knoxville in February. Wade says Whitechapel will probably next perform here as part of a headlining tour set for early 2013.