(Here’s TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by The Black Dahlia Murder, which will be released on June 11 by Metal Blade. At the end of the review you’ll find all three of the songs that have premiered to date.)
Some bands only get better with age. I honestly feared that The Black Dahlia Murder would have sold out by now, compromised their sound, watered it down (especially due to the unusual amount of acclaim they’ve received as an American melodic death metal band), but instead they’ve only become more vicious.
I’ve been a fan of this band since before Unhallowed with the A Cold-Blooded Epitath EP and have remained a die-hard fan since. The savage way in which they attack their melodic assault, the vein-bursting stylings of Trevor Strnad’s now patented and oft-copied high and low vocal attack, and a commitment to producing music that’s melodic without pussing out in the slightest have really cemented BDM as an unstoppable force in American metal.
And the thing is, Everblack is The Black Dahlia Murder’s best album yet. Deflorate and Ritual both had cool things to offer and were great albums, but this is definitely BDM at their most brutal and dark.
In this album we also see a departure from melodic death metal into something more… forgive the implication… legit. There is a huge steroid injection of straight death metal and black metal at work here, as well as the inclusion of more progressive melodies, and it’s when these elements are prevalent that this album is at its best. Everblack might just very well be the epitome of the band up to this point in time.
Of course, we need to look at the band’s current line-up, too. Besides the core of Strnad and Eschbach, you have the always sublime Ryan Knight lending his axe talents to this band since 2008 (his solo work has really stepped up BDM’s game), drummer Alan Cassidy of Abigail Williams, and a new bassist (Max Lavelle) who’s really got his shit together and has a crushing tone to back it up.
Even the melodic death metal aspect of the sound, when it crops up, has really undergone an overhaul. Less traditionalism is now present, with the music favoring the kind of more frantic speed-based approach (as evidenced in the opening track “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me”) that you hear in the music of bands like Darkane, Mors Principium Est, or Carnal Forge. Even in more classic-BDM-styled songs such as “Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn”, the melodies are definitely more sophisticated and are following truly neo-classical lines of thought, as in that song’s chorus (which is one of the best melodic choruses they’ve ever done), and the solos are just outstanding; but every solo has been amazing in the last two albums’ worth of output.
The notable evolutions that move toward death metal and black metal ethos are what matter here though. While the opener offers familiarity, this evolution becomes immediately apparent in the album’s second track “Goat of Departure”. The riffs, while retaining a bit of melody, are definitely more atonal and their attack is more violent than anything BDM have done before. This persists in songs like “Into the Everblack”, “Blood Mine”, and “Every Rope a Noose”. In these songs the album is operating at full effect; I’d wager in the future we’ll see BDM straying more and more from their melodic death metal roots.
The production is also a bit different for the band, less clean and mid-ranged, far dirtier and very cold in an industrial kind of way. The low end is really fat, and the bass sticks out with a very dense metallic tone to it. The drum tone on this record is also especially noteworthy, as it’s battering and overwhelming, befitting new drummer Alan Cassidy’s busy, relentless style.
Really, Everblack is another excellent addition to an already consistently solid discography. It just happens to have the distinction of being the band’s best one yet.
Fucking buy it, basically.