This Friday, veteran death metal act Whitechapel will release its news live recording Brotherhood of the Blade. The CD/DVD combo pack is a rare profile of what is one of today’s most prolific death metal acts. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the veteran Knoxville, Tennesse-based band, this recording proves to be one that any death metal fan will enjoy. This applies to the package in whole. For the sake of this review however, the focus will sit on the recording’s audio-only portion (it’s CD presentation). The main way in which Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD proves such an important part of the package is its set list. Over the course of the record’s thirteen-song, fifty-two-minute run time, the featured set list strives to both reach those fans that have been there since the band’s early days and those that have just recently joined the band’s fan base. It mostly represents the band’s most recent full-length recording Our Endless War (2014). However, none of the band’s previous four full-length recordings are ignored here, either. That will be discussed shortly. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to note. Front man Phil Bozeman does interact with the audiences at different points. However he and his band mates–Ben Savage (guitar), Zach Householder (guitar), Alex Wade (guitar), Ben Harclerode (drums), and Gabe Crisp (bass)–let the music do the talking here. They attack each song with the full fury for which the band has come to be known for in its live shows. That is evident in the package’s CD side. However, there’s no denying that it translates even better through the package’s DVD side. Both sides together create a concert that audiences listening at home will enjoy just as much as those that were in attendance at the show’s taping. Last but hardly least of note in regards to Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD presentation is its audio mix. Considering the size of the venue in which the concert was recorded the audio mix is quite impressive in its own right. Though, again for full appreciation of that mix fans will want to take in the concert’s DVD presentation as well as its CD presentation. The combination of that solid audio mix alongside the band’s equally solid performance and set list makes Brotherhood of the Blade a live recording that will make any longtime fan proud to be part of the brotherhood and any new fan just as proud to have joined. It is a recording that even by itself proves to be among the best of this year’s new live CD recordings.
Whitechapel’s new live CD recording Brotherhood of the Blade is one of the best of this year’s new live CD offerings. It is a CD that over the course of its thirteen tracks and fifty-two minute run time will make any of the band’s longtime fans proud to be part of the band’s brotherhood. It will also leave new fans just as proud to have joined the brotherhood. The main reason for such acclaim is the concert’s set list. While the thirteen-song set list focuses heavily on the band’s most recent full-length studio recording, 2014’s Our Endless War, (it features a total of five songs from that album) it doesn’t ignore the band’s other albums, either. Four of the show’s songs are lifted from the band’s self-titled 2012 album. Two of the featured songs come from the band’s 2006 debut album The Somatic Defilement, and two more are pulled from its followup, 2008’s This is Exile. The only album not represented here was the band’s 2010 album A New Era of Corruption. Considering this, the band is to be commended for having made such a concerted effort to reach its entire fans base. Having left out that one album it would be unfair to call this performance a career-spanning show. But it still does quite the job of showing Whitechapel’s past, present, and potential future, too. It is just one way in which Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD presentation proves to be such a solid recording. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is also of note here.
The set list that is featured over the course of Brotherhood of the Blade’s fifty-two minute run time is, while not career-spanning, is still a healthy representation of the band’s body of work. It is a set list that will entertain the band’s long-time fans just as much as its newer fans. As important as it is to note in regards to the CD presentation’s whole it is just one way in which this presentation proves to be so solid. The band’s stage presence is just as important to the concert’s overall listening experience as the show’s set list. From start to finish, front man Phil Bozeman and company impress with their stage presence. The band lets its music do the talking throughout most of the show. Though, front man Phil Bozeman does take some time here and there to interact with the audience both between songs and even during the songs. There is a certain sincerity in his voice when he thanks the hometown fans for coming out to support the band and for the audience’s years of support. It’s tough to put a finger on it, but that sincerity in his gratitude has just as much effect as his powerhouse vocals as he makes his way through each of the set’s songs. Even when he talks to the audience during the songs, there is a certain confidence in his voice that makes him stand out as a front man even more. It’s one of those things that makes his presence on stage so powerful. Of course his command of the stage isn’t all that makes the band’s stage presence so powerful and noteworthy. Ben Harclerode’s blast beats come across with the precision of an M-16 from one song to the next while the three-guitar approach creates a pummeling wall of sound that as powerful as it is never overpowers Bozeman, Harclerode, or Crisp at any point in the show. Audiences will hear (and see) this for themselves when they purchase Brotherhood of the Blade for themselves. It still isn’t the last way in which the recording proves to be so solid, even as impressive as it is. The audio mix in Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD presentation rounds out the ways in which it shows to be a solid recording.
The set list featured in Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD presentation and Whitechapel’s performance of said songs are both key ways in which the recording shows itself to be a solid new live recording from the Knoxville, Tennessee-based death metal band. While both elements are of equal importance to the recording, they are hardly the only ways in which it proves itself worth the listen. The concert featured in both the CD and DVD presentation of Brotherhood of the Blade was recorded at Knoxville’s The International. For those that might not be familiar with the venue, it is a venue with high ceilings but somewhat close walls. That means that sound goes straight out and straight up. It doesn’t have a lot of room in which to spread out and really envelop the hall, basically creating its own share of challenges. This is important to note in the concert’s audio mix because considering this element it would have been easy to have trouble for those behind the boards to balance out the show’s audio. Luckily, those charged with that duty carried out their duties with the utmost expertise. Audiences will be surprised to hear how well each member’s part was balanced against those of his band mates. This is especially important to note considering the sheer power exhibited by the band from start to finish. The end result is a death metal concert that is just as powerful on CD as it must have been in its original recording. That full, pummeling sound couples with the band’s performance of its set list and the set list itself to make Brotherhood of the Blade’s CD presentation one that will make fans new and old alike proud to be part of the band’s brotherhood of fans and a recording that is one of the best of this year’s live CD offerings.
Brotherhood of the Blade is one of the best of this year’s live CD offerings and a recording that will make the band’s fans new and old alike proud to be part of its brotherhood of fans. That is thanks in large part to its set list, which pulls from almost every one of the band’s albums to date. the band’s performance of said songs adds even more power to the CD presentation. Its final audio mix rounds out the ways in which it shows itself to be so impressive. Fans will agree with that sentiment when they experience this concert recording for themselves. Each element shows clearly in itself why this presentation is one that every fan will appreciate and enjoy. Together, they make it a presentation that is, once more, one of the best of this year’s live CD recordings. It will be available in stores and online Friday, October 30th and can be ordered online in a variety of packages at http://www.metalblade.com/whitechapel. More information on this and other titles from Metal Blade Records is available online now at:
More information on Brotherhood of the Blade is available online now along with all of Whitechapel’s latest news at:
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