(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.
It’s been good to see them keep up such a sick output while growing loads musically from where they started. Love them so much. I need this album in my life.
i got into TBDM on Nocturnal, and it was Strnad’s vocals that got me hooked. super excited for Everblack, the tracks they’ve dropped so far are monsters
You’ve got me really excited for this album. I really loved Deflorate in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s like the album hit exactly when I needed it to and I really latched onto it like I hadn’t with previous BDM albums. Ritual’s an album I bought day one and, while I could certainly see what was excellent about it, just didn’t click with me until fairly recently. I’ve been following the little bits and promos the band’s put out for the new album and each one gets me a little more excited. I can’t fucking wait for this disc.
Shut the fuck up
Ritual has largely fallen off my radar really… it hasn’t quite had the staying power of Nocturnal or Deflorate.
I agree! To be frank I preferred the solos before Ryan joined the fray… more feeling and less sweeping wankery. (not that I don’t love some of his TBDM solos, I Will Return for example)
As another die-hard fan, I much prefer Nocturnal and Deflorate, they were more focused. Ritual was full of filler, but that might just be because I love TBDM for the imagery as much as the riffing and the lyrics in Nocturnal and Deflorate were much more poetic than his recent attempts at gore. The Window was just in bad taste in my opinion!
I was a total fan boy since the release of Unhallowed, not to mention they’re a local group and I wanted to support them. But Deflorate really, really turned me off. I hated the direction of the album. Hated the production. Hated the songs. Hated the solos. Can’t stand it. To me, it wasn’t BDM. Ritual was a turn in the right direction and I’m hoping this album gets them back on track. These samples sound pretty promising. Though, Trevor’s vocals, at least for me, are becoming tiresome and I keep reading all this praise being heaped upon Knight, but I can’t think of a single solo he has done that I found to be memorable. I usually just find myself waiting for them to hurry up and get over so we can get back to what was making the song enjoyable. We’ll see how the whole thing sounds when it’s released. I have above average hopes. Flame me….whatever…it’s my opinion. Go cry
You do make me laugh sometimes.
I often look at the site first thing when I wake. During this time period, I’m in complete zombie mode. That, coupled with the fact that I’m not anywhere near as poetic or eloquent with expressing my thoughts regarding music, as you, makes for some retarded rhetoric….though I stand by what I said. Knight just ain’t BDM to me. Is he a better player than John? Yeah, by leaps and bounds. But does all that supposed technical ability make my dick twitch? Nope! John’s solos….though perhaps juvenile by today’s metal technical standards…had this emotion to them that I really connected with. I have a ton emotionally invested in this band…so when they disappoint, I take it personally…right or wrong.
It’s not about “eloquence” my friend, nor about whether you take a band’s output personally. I think we’ve all been guilty of doing that at one point or another, it’s just when you come on and finish your post with:
“Flame me….whatever…it’s my opinion. Go cry”
it’s quite funny. Particularly the “Go cry” part.
Couldn’t have taken the words from my mouth more so. I’m disappointed John left the band as I actually really loved his solos. Although I don’t know what he directly wrote for the band the first 3 were my favourites for sure. Ritual was good and Deflorate had 2 songs I would say are equivalent to my least fav songs on the other 3 albums.
Knight hasnt impressed me with his solo work as it doesn’t feel there is much soul to them like John…which is actually funny because everyone in the band shit on John as he left saying he did half assed solos just to get them done.
Very excited about this new album and with the negative info I’ve just seem to spew, they are actually my fav metal band.
You hit the nail on the head. Knight’s solos are VERY soulless, where as John was ALL soul….just very little ability. And I never understood why Trevor shit on John like he did when they severed ties? Even if what trevor had to say was true, you don’t speak that way in public about a friend. Save it for behind closed doors.
The reason that he got shit on is he left the band the night before they had a huge tour starting. Shitty thing to do but being honest I’ve been in bands and that would kill me if a guy left the night before.
Every The Black Dahlia Murder album gets better and better.. talking about the past is kind of dumb because the albums from the past arent going anywhere and can still be listened to whenever, and the band can also play that old material live whenever too. But John has shit on Ryan Knight, if you have heard Graves Ablaze which is Johns new band.. the solos are by far shit compared to what was on Nocturnal so he lost his stuff a bit but Ryan Knight and the new line up will keep on the presue. Ritual didn’t fall off of anything either, enough of my buddies listen to it so it lasts for me. and Ritual did better with album sales than Deflorate and Nocturnal so people stop being so stuck in the past ffs… life goes on!
and saying Ryan Knight doesnt have soul when there is way more feel in his solos is also the dumbest thing I have ever heard ROFL! Maybe you guys dont rip guitar or if you do dont rip very well if you think there was more “Soul” and “Feel” in Johns solos! Ryan Knight is the man !,,! (X_x) ,,!,,
Somehow I can’t imagine that’s actually the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.
Been a fan since I saw the video for Funeral Thirst in 2003. As if I couldn’t wait to hear it already, after reading this now I HAVE TO hear it ASAP.
Hey there, it was through this review that introduced me to The Black Dahlia Murder so thanks for that. I quite enjoyed the album and wrote a review myself as a new fan if you are interested.