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Whitechapel’s Ben Savage Talks Latest Album, Band’s Three-Guitar Attack + More

Photo: Adam Elmakias, Whitechapel Facebook

Whitechapel are one of the many bands on this year’s impressive Mayhem Festival lineup. The Tennessee-based band also released their self-titled, fourth studio album earlier in the year.

I Dementia‘ is the disc’s lead single, and it has been making some serious impact on eardrums. So when Loudwire had the opportunity to chat with guitarist Ben Savage, he spoke all about their new album and much more.

Congrats on your fourth studio album, what made you guys go with a self titled album?

We just couldn’t really think of a title [Laughs] — that’s mainly it. We couldn’t think of a title that could really encompass what the album brought so we all thought self-titled just felt right, felt like a self-titled record as far as sound, as far as maturity as far as representing the band. As a self-titled album we thought it was perfect.

Can you talk about the song ‘I, Dementia’? You said that you all found your niche with ‘I, Dementia,’ can you elaborate on that?

Yeah, I like songs that are more universal sounding, that can really appeal to anybody with an open mind. I felt ‘I Dementia’ really brings that, it definitely has a cool vibe to it. It’s going to be an awesome song live to play, I really like songs that have a certain, good structure and good flow but you don’t lose interesting parts like dynamics. It’s going to add a lot of concept to our live show.

How would you describe the metal scene in the South growing up?

When I was growing up there wasn’t really that many metal bands, there wasn’t really a scene at all. There are some cool bands that are around like Straight Line Stitch, they were on Mayhem a few years ago. There really isn’t like a scene at all, there was for a little bit and then it kind of died away. How we got out, we use to play local shows, regional shows, weekend shows and we just started touring, we were like, “Screw it.”

You guys also released a song before ‘I Dementia’ titled ‘Hate Creation.’ Can you talk about this track?

Those riffs in the song I’ve had ‘em for over a year so it definitely stood the test of time. The main riff, the chorus-y riffs it was slowed down but then I used the old Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth method and took a catchy riff and just sped it up. It turned into a sweet, anthemic riff sped up like that. The two main riffs fit real well together and there’s enough inspiration in the riffs where you can get a lot of drum accents and a lot of ambiance. That’s what I look forward to now rather than cramming ten riffs in a song I rather have three riffs that work really well together but then just experimenting, just taking the riffs and seeing where else you can go with it.

There are three guitarists in the band including yourself, Zach Householder and Alex Wade. How is it splitting the guitar tasks between three people? What do you think having 3 guitarists brings to the sound of Whitechapel as a whole?

It definitely brings more soul. Having two guitarists on the side coming out in the left and right speakers, it’s going to stay heavy the entire time and the guitar up the center is just doing harmonies and solos. It keeps the sound in check. As far as a writing standpoint we definitely have more ideas, more riffs, more thoughts on the music so that’s never a bad thing. Most of us have known each other for a long time, we’ve all been in local bands together, it all came together real naturally.

The cover of the album is an image the stars on flag of Tennessee flag your guys home state; where did this idea come from to use it within the saw blade as the album art?

We’ve had that logo for a long time. That was actually our first idea for a logo, we actually ran through a bunch of other logos like using a “W” but none of them worked out and that one stood the test of time. It’s still an awesome symbol, our first drummer Kevin [Lane] actually made it and it just represents where we come from and the style of music we play. What I like about it is open to interpretation, it doesn’t have to be a metal band logo, the saw blade can also look like a sun or something and the stars can represent anything. When I look at it, it kind of looks like a crazy face.

Next: Listen to Whitechapel's 'I, Dementia'

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