Welcome to Napalm Flesh! This week we have an interview with vocalist Phil Bozeman and guitarist Zach Householder of rising metal stars Whitechapel. We also have exclusive reviews of new releases from Reino Hermitaño, Satanic Bloodspraying and Testament
Since 2007, Tennessee death metallers Whitechapel have carved quite a name for themselves into the flesh of the music scene. Hailed for their brutality and technical versatility, each album has been loved more than the last, and their newest, self-titled effort is no exception. This young band already has multiple headlining tours under its belt, and has supported major tours such as Summer Slaughter, the California Metal Fest IV, Warped Tour, and for the second time in 2012, the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival—which is where Napalm Flesh sat down with vocalist Phil Bozeman and guitarist Zach Householder to get the details on this fast-rising star of a metal band.
SLUG: It’s early in the tour, but how has your second round at Mayhem treated you guys so far?
Bozeman: This is the tour we did 3 years ago, and to this day it’s still the best tour we‘ve ever done. This one has topped it—no offense to the bands on the last tour, but Slipknot is one of those bands I’ve never seen live until three nights ago, so it was a big experience for me. We’re doing it again with Slayer, that’s a huge addition to the tour. It’s been great, you can’t ask for a better tour really, especially if you’re a metalhead.
SLUG: Are there any of these bands you’re meeting and hanging with for the first time? Any surprises?
Bozeman: We know Devil Wears Prada. Upon A Burning Body is a band we’ve played with when we very first started, and parted ways but we knew who each other were. Now they’ve really come onto the scene, it’s crazy. There’s a lot of bands when we first started playing and we weren’t anything, it’s cool to see bands grow and become relevant. We haven’t hung out with anyone from the Main Stage, but I’ve seen some of the Slipknot and Slayer guys around.
SLUG: Your new self-titled record is getting some great reviews, and it definitely has a new and wonderful versatility to it. How was the writing process for you guys this time around, actually working as a cohesive group rather than individually? Were there any unexpected moments, good or bad?
Householder: I felt writing this album was almost the same as every other album, but when all of us came together to do pre-production sitting behind a computer, we all voiced our opinions more-so than other times in the past. The writing process changes even more when you go to the studio. I think a big difference was being at home to record at Alex’s studio for most of it, being close by. Once things got done, we all had an opinion on something, especially on song structures. Together, we all had more of a voice on the album than usual. We’re rushing new albums anyway all the time, I think we’re getting better at doing it more efficiently.
SLUG: This is your first time writing with drummer Ben Harclerode in the band, and I know you guys have said playing old stuff with him was a seamless experience. How was it as far as writing new material was concerned? Did the spark maintain its power?
Householder: Guy’s a genius man. I mean, he’s half-batshit crazy, but composition-wise, musically, understanding theory, he’s a smart guy with music. I haven’t seen anything you put in front of him on drums that he couldn’t play. He’s the best thing to happen to us. I love Kevin Lane to death, he will always be part of this band, we still talk to him, he’s a dear friend. He just wasn’t in the right mindset for it. Going a year having fill-in drummers after Kevin, Ben is just what we needed. He fit right in—he’s part of the family.
Bozeman: At this time, I have no worry about the drummer anymore. It’s great.