...as well as "Whitechapel's best album, by an extremely wide margin (as well as their only album worth listening to)" (that includes their newer self-titled release, which is about a tenth as enjoyable as "New Era..."). Recently, I heard a track contained within this band's newest (self-titled) album on Sirius 40 (thanks again, Jose; I'd be lost without you), and while I wasn't tremendously impressed, I figured that since I have Rhapsody, which incidentally provides virtually every metal album in recent history, no matter how obscure (Sirius and Rhapsody = a winning combination for any metal fan), I'd give the album a shot (why not?). Though I enjoyed said album to a moderate extent, having over twenty-five years of metal experience, I'm never one to assume that a band's latest offering is its best (rarely the case, as most bands go). Thus, we go back one album...and arrive at "New Era of Corruption," a profoundly powerful sledgehammer of a collection of tracks that immediately, after one listen, became my new "favorite" album (of the moment, anyway; no way of knowing how long it will last, but six listens in, I still can't stop listening). It's always a treat to listen to an album of exceptional merit that I somehow missed years ago, but always bittersweet, knowing that it's been in existence for as long and that I'm simply late to the party; much better late than never.
Where to begin? Let's start not with discussion of merits of the album, per se, but with what seems to be universally baseless criticism of this band (forget the album) stemming from the mentally weak amongst us...those who "down-vote" based on something as trivial as sub-genre classification and their silly beliefs that they will no longer be respected by the "metal community" if they show respect to anything that they feel falls into the "hated" "deathcore" category. Let me assist you with this: integrity trumps all, and trying to fit in with folks who apparently suffer from integrity deficits of their own is not something to admire. Second, labeling anything, then disparaging it on the basis of that label alone, is generally the act of a fool; it denigrates not only the target of said label, but displays a pure lack of respect on behalf of he who labels (he who is typically in no position to be labeling anyone or anything else).
This album is, quite simply, beyond classification; it cannot simply be called "deathcore," nor can it be grouped into any one sub-classification of metal. Frankly, "deathcore" is little but a nonsensical concept, given that its supposed source, "metalcore," was always a false name for what is actually the farthest thing from real "metalcore" (bands like All Out War, Earth Crisis, etc., who incorporated "metal" with "hardcore" music; somewhere along the lines, bands like Killswitch and All That Remains apparently somehow became hardcore bands who also incorporated metal...odd, isn't it)...
Anyway, I digress; if you pass this album up because you're afraid you'll no longer have the respect of your metal-listening peers, then I simply have this to say: grow a spine and give the album a chance. Why? It's brilliant--that's why. Musically, the album doesn't scream "ingenuity," though literally every track within the album is excellent; you'll find that each of them will invariably find their way deep into the crevices of your brain (at one point or another), and simply will not relent. "Unnerving," for example, is absolutely *prodigious* (possibly my favorite of the album, with "End of Flesh" and "The Darkest Day of Man" close runners-up). Lyrically, Phil simply redefines what "powerful" means to metal vocals, and while I haven't yet taken the time to investigate the all-around message of the album from a lyrical perspective (I generally don't concern myself with the "message;" I'm here for the sound [including the sound of the vocalist, more than the words behind said sound] and the emotion it generates), I have no doubt that it is precisely as powerful as it would appear to be. Production quality is literally flawless (find yourself a system that can reproduce the entire range of human hearing [~20 to 20KHz] [e.g. a car with a 15" subwoofer and component speakers]; you'll be glad you did). (I'd also like to add that here, we have a rare case of the album's artwork actually adding something of value to the experience; it genuinely does set the mood for what's to come.)
As such, after giving the album a fair chance (at least two *complete* listens, please), if you genuinely dislike it (if you're a fan of metal, I can't see a way that this might be possible), then so be it. Voice your *honest* contempt toward the album. For God's sake, though, please don't besmirch something that you refuse to give an honest chance because you're afraid to.
In conclusion, this album easily bests Whitechapel's self-titled follow-up (it's clear that some of the pressure to move away from the "deathcore" label got to them; with the amount of contempt and bias held toward the sub-genre by "critics," it isn't hard to understand why), and that is truly sad...this will likely be their pinnacle), and for *any fan of kick-a$$ metal* (how's that for classification?), regardless of whatever sub-genres you (think that you) prefer, give it a chance. I dare state that, in time, this brutally hard, agonizingly dark, absolute masterpiece of *metal* will be regarded as not only the best album ever to be associated (right or wrong) with "deathcore," but one of the 100 greatest metal albums, of any sub-genre, of all time. With twenty-five years of metal exposure, having heard tens of thousands of albums, I can conclusively state that very few even approach the level of emotional attachment that this perfectly-realized creation generates; it's simply in a league of its own, and is therefore like nothing I've previously experienced. Forget the naysayers, stand tall, and take it from someone with an IQ above the 99th percentile: this album is the genuine article.