Interview with Zach Householder with T. Ray Verteramo
June 12, 2016
Whitechapel named themselves well. By glorifying the setting of the most notorious crime scenes in history, rather than identifying themselves with the criminal, the band may have unknowingly set the precedence of their contributions to the industry.
Cities and places can evolve over time, psychopaths don’t. And these American southern boys know their bloody place.
This is a smart band. Providing “variety” and dynamics in the brutality, Whitechapel is considered one of the forerunners of Core, while giving Thrash a fresh new set of knuckles. By consistently thinking and performing outside the box, they have been able to evolve and denounce constrictive labels that can potentially suffocate an artist’s growth. Now, six years after their debut, The Somatic Defilement, Whitechapel enjoys their cake of top marquee billing and a possessive, devoted following while eating it, too in the studio, with the luxury of stretching their creative muscles.
Taking their ruthlessness to a new level, it looks like those muscles may have reached near yoga mastery with their new upcoming monster, Mark of the Blade, produced by Mark Lewis (Devildriver), set to be unleashed on June 24th. Their formidable guitarist, Zach Householder, gave Iron Raven a peek behind the curtain of what promises to be their most creatively ambitious and vicious show yet.
IR: Whitechapel has always been a demonstrative band. What inspired you to take a more progressively “dynamic” approach with Mark of the Blade? Was it a challenge finding this bigger sound to deeper material?
Honestly, it’s not really a challenge if you’re just simply FEELING the different approach when it comes to writing. I think that was the case for all of us on this record. We were just feeling a different vibe as a whole.
IR: Phil mentioned in Loudwire’s “Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction” that he likes to tap references from older material and bring them forward into the new work, which strings the dimensions of time together. When did this practice start to become a signature in his art and what can we anticipate to hear in this latest project?
I think it started with our third album A New Era of Corruption. The title was a line from one of the singles off of our second album, “This Is Exile.” Honestly, the only real stringing together comes in on one song which refers to our live dvd/album.
IR: Has the new material influenced your live performances or visual concepts for future videos?
Not so much live performances…but maybe with future production of live shows, yes. As for videos, it’s so hard to turn a decent concept into anything worthwhile due to videos costing so much and them having such little influence nowadays. There’s tons of ideas we’ve always had for videos but never the means (or budget) to do so. So for future videos, it’ll be more about showcasing the song without trying to make it look cheesy. If there’s a good concept that can be achieved with the tools at our disposal, then that’s just an added bonus.
IR: Your fanbase is intensely loyal. What do you believe has always set Whitechapel aside from other thrash bands which earns you such a devoted following? How does Whitechapel continually nurture that relationship?
Well, I wouldn’t say we’re exactly a “thrash” band more than just a “metal” band. As for our following, it’s hard to identify. I think a lot of it has to do with creating a brand with the music that people can latch on to. They want something they can hold inside themselves but also wear outside as well to fully express themselves and us along with them.
IR: Apparently, there was a little controversy over “clean singing” (Revolver, AltPress) appearing on Blade. Watain experienced a similar folly with The Wild Hunt in 2014. Why do you think fans and critics get so heated over using the technique? Do you think such a detail, or any kind of progression a band chooses to make for that matter, is worth getting worked up about?
Yeah, people got upset over a silly joke. When I noticed people flipping out over the “singing” rumors, I just playfully decided to mess with them and say “You all are getting worked up over nothing…there’s no clean singing on the record.” What I didn’t know was that Revolver, AltPress, or both had released an article at the time stating otherwise. This made them look bad. So it was an honest mistake of me just trying to joke on social media, but we all know by now that you just can’t make a joke anymore.
To answer your question, though, I really have no clue as to why anyone would get heated over it. If it was a band I liked, I would finally decide with my own ears when I heard it. I wouldn’t try and dismiss it beforehand simply because it was a little different. I think a lot of people still have some growing up to do.
Mark of the Blade: Original Release Date: June 24, 2016
Release Date: June 24, 2016
Label: Metal Blade Records