March 16th, Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO….the crowd has already gone nuts several times for the opening bands and now they await patiently for the main event, the headliner….Whitechapel. Set up takes awhile and the stage opens up big for the 6 monsters from Knoxville, Tennessee, allowing them to perform and move about without bumping into one another. Lights are set up, tones are checked and the lights go out. The fog machine spews obnoxious amounts of steam into the faces of the crowd and dimly a blue light barely illuminates the stage and the 5 gents up front walk towards the end of the stage and Ben Harclerode sits down at his kit. The beginning of Section 8 begins to play and then slams into it hard just like how the song is done on the EP. The Recorruptour has come and now the main event is owning the crowd, forcing them to headbang, scream and mosh like crazy.
The sound was loud, terrifyingly loud and very very clear. Their stage was mostly blackened with very little lighting at first. Then the spooky lights would come on every once in awhile covering the stage and band with red, blue and green colors. There were also a ton of strobe light action happening on the faster parts of songs as well, sometimes the colored lights joining in on the strobe fest. It was a sight to behold, one second you can barely see the band, next thing you are being bombarded with flashing lights and evil sounding music. It was intense and the experience was a damn good one, the best I’ve ever seen from Whitechapel.
Alex Wade, Ben Savage and Zach Householder did a great job bringing the heavy tunes to Kansas City and their sound was exactly like how you would want them to sound. Barbaric and ruthless live, yet incredibly on par with how they sound on the albums. Ben’s leads were not messed up at all and they all remained focused throughout the entire set, song after song. Gabe Crisp’s powerful bass guitar work didn’t go unnoticed, however I wish they would turn his amp up just a little more. All four of the fretboard fanatics did a great job on stage, headbanging and performing, amping up the crowd more and more as the set progressed. Drumming was abso-fucking-lutely amazing. He kept the pace and he is the guy keeping this army of guitars in line with his rapid & rabid rhythmic ways. His blasts, foot work and fills was enough to make me go “Good god damn” every once in awhile. He is fast, he is barbaric on that kit. Phil Bozeman’s vocals….they were different. They were a little off from the albums and previous times I’ve seen/heard them live. He maintained though and still put out some amazing growls and screams. He may be one of the smallest vocalists in the game right now but he remains to have one of the biggest and loudest voices in modern metal today. During one of their songs (I believe it was either Murder Sermon or Eternal Refuge), Phil belted out a loud high pitch scream that made chills go down my spine. I didn’t know the person next to me and I turned to him and screamed “Holy fuck, that was awesome!” All in all, Whitechapel collectively impressed and got their point across. They came and killed it.
One of the cool things happening on stage was the rhythm of the music and lighting. Throughout the entire set it was constantly flashing like crazy with the tempo with the drums. If Ben was blasting his ass off, the lights were blinking like crazy. Talk about an epilepsy check! Their show was really good, definitely the best show I’ve seen Whitechapel put on. The crowd was going nuts, circle pits, moshing, headbanging and even the Wall of Death happening on “This is Exile“. There wasn’t many crowd surfers during Whitechapel, which is a good thing for me. I fucking hate that shit. Whitechapel’s crowd was exactly what I want when I go to a metal show. Energy, just raw primitive energy. Screaming like they all just sacrificed a lamb to the gods on stage while Phil screams viciously back at them.
If you were there, I’m sure you would agree with me. Whitechapel came to Kansas City and fucking brought with them some of the finest death metal/deathcore out right now. They have grown as a band and their performance proves this. If they are coming to your town on this tour you HAVE to see them. This is their tour, this is their time to shine and they are proving still to this day that they are one of the heaviest bands out there. If you happen to miss them (and shame on you if you do) be sure to catch them on Mayhem Fest this year. I saw them open that shit years ago and they kicked our asses then too, at 2PM in the middle of the parking lot.
Review and photos by Thomas Mergel