Tennessee has a rich tradition that has helped shape American music. Memphis was a big contributor to blues, soul, and early rock ’n’ roll thanks to Sun, Stax, and the influx of Delta musicians. Nashville has been the long-standing capital of country music, and more recently, has developed as a hotbed of Americana storytellers. The Smokies and the surrounding Appalachian areas have given us bluegrass and undeniable icon Dolly Parton. However, while metal has eluded the Volunteer State’s thumbprint, Whitechapel’s six roughriders from Knoxville are looking to change that by showing off something a little harder than peepaw’s moonshine.
Since 2006, the three-guitar stampede has dished out eight devastating albums that combine death metal, hardcore, and melodic black metal, proving the Smokies can slay. This spring, Whitechapel took to the road, playing their seventh album The Valley in its entirety, along with favorites from their earlier work. Originally, their final stop was slated to be Nashville’s Basement East, but after it quickly sold out, their promoters elevated them to Marathon Music Works (which, once again, sold out). And that’s where the Rig Rundown crew caught up with them to talk gear.
Whitechapel’s guitarists Zach Householder, Ben Savage, and Alex Wade and bassist Gabe Crisp invited PG’s Chris Kies sidestage to cover their signature guitars, the inner workings of their unusual Kemper profiles, and how flip-flopping DiMarzio humbuckers made all the difference.