Jun 242015


Under normal circumstances, I would have included this song in a round-up of other new songs, but I decided to give this one stand-alone attention because the trajectory of The Black Dahlia Murder has been such an interesting one to watch. For an extreme metal band, they are tremendously popular, they have a lot of musical talent in their ranks, and they’ve got a larger-than-life, charismatic frontman. But in certain quarters of metal fandom, they’ve sort of been permanently stuck with a metalcore or deathcore label despite the evolution of their sound since 2005’s Miasma and Trevor Strnad’s self-professed “long, intimate love affair with death metal”.  And if you haven’t been paying attention, their sound clearly has evolved, and the evolution has clearly been purposeful.

I’m one of those people who wasn’t a big fan in the band’s early days, even as their visibility and popularity skyrocketed, but have been warming up to them as time has passed (for example, I enjoyed Everblack more than any of their previous releases). And so I’ve been curious about what their new album Abysmal would sound like, especially after seeing the fantastic cover art, which seems to scream “magnified brutality inside!”.

This morning one of the new songs popped up on YouTube, apparently a leak, and so it probably won’t be around for long (though today is the day previously appointed for release of the first single and the launch of album pre-orders). Its name is “Vlad, Son of the Dragon“.

This one is a high-speed assault, a boiling cauldron of swarming riffs and attention-grabbing drumwork punctuated with booming grooves and a sweet guitar solo. Strnad howls like a famished wolf and shrieks like a banshee. In a nutshell, this song sounds to me like a straightforward bow to the legends of early Swedish melodic death metal, bands such as Carcass and At the Gates, and I have no complaints about that at all.

Because there will apparently be an official premiere of the song someplace later today, I’m not going to embed the leak that I heard. I’ll update this post with a link to the official release when it happens (or an embed of the stream if that’s possible). But keep your eyes open for it — because the song really is well worth hearing.

UPDATE:  The official stream is now out, and I’ve embedded it below. The album is also now available for pre-order HERE.

Abysmal is due for release by Metal Blade on September 18.







    • BDM were THE band that got me into extreme metal about 12 years ago. I keep checking them out every time they release something new in the hopes that they will excite me again, but they just don’t do anything for me anymore. The exact same song with slight variations for 7 years now. This track is so uninteresting it hurts.

      • Hmmm, how odd. For me they’ve only gotten stronger and stronger over the years, with Unhallowed being clearly their weakest point, Nocturnal having the highest percentage “hit rate”, Deflorate being far more technical and (in some ways) most streamlined and melodic… Ritual being, erm, yeah, ok, a lot of that was pretty stock… and then Everblack showcased some much darker influences.

        So, in that way I have high hopes for Abysmal. High hopes indeed.

    • Same. That’s how I felt about Everblack. There were a couple stand out songs, and the music is still great. But to me, it’s bland in comparison to their older albums. Miasma and Nocturnal were my favorites. Deflorate and Ritual were amazing, but still a step down from the previous two. Everblack was good, but there are really only one or two songs that I still listen to. If the rest of Abysmal is like this song, then it’ll just be another Everblack to me. BDM is still, and will always be in my Death Metal Godhead though.

  2. Y’all forgot the song! 🙂

  3. I found the track on youtube, it’s fantastic 🙂

  4. I can’t confess to love everything they’ve ever done, but they’ve got some tracks – “Moonlight Equilibrium”, “Stirring Seas of Salted Blood”, “Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn” – that are as good as anything. Definite mainstays on my iPod.

  5. I can’t edit my old post, so just wanted to add that I would probably love this band completely if they reversed the proportions on their vocals. About 80% deep growl and 20% screeching. That would be perfect.

    • I confess that I have a similar bias. Trevor can do both very well, but I’;m also partial to the deep growls over the shrieks (and not just in this band).

      • I personally don’t prefer one over the other, but I do appreciate when they either “harmonize” the two. Also, when the song really fits the vocal style: Everything Went Black just wouldn’t be the same if it started out with growls, and I can’t see how On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood would have improved with screams on the opening verse.

      • I actually like his shriek more – the deep growl is certainly a good one, but his shriek is very distinct, and immediately identifiable as Strnad, while still being very well done.

  6. The new song is fast, heavy as a stone and perfectly intertwined with a dramatic melody throughout all of his lenght. Trevor Strnad, as always, shows a vicious and energic vocal style. It’s cool that you are waiting for the official release before to add a post dedicated to the band. I agree on the similarities with the legend in Carcass and At The Gates and yes, the sound of The Black Dahlia Murder is clearly evolved, little by little their melodies, album after album becomes more gloomy, The song really deserves to be heard!

    • Yes, the melody in the song has proven to have staying power and is integrated well into the torrential aggressiveness of the riffs and the drumming.

      • It is true and mentioning “Everblack” we had the proof about how naturally the melodies are dark, probably their appreciation for “Black Metal” has a bit of influence on their music, and about the drumming, well, Alan Cassidy is very good drummer!

        • I actually prefer all their previous drummers over him, I find him boring and by the book. Still love the band though.

          • My favourite drummer for this band is Shannon Lucas but I still love them, sincerely from “Nocturnal” but I have no disappointment by Alan Cassidy and I’ll wait to hear the whole album because I’m curious if something has changed in terms of velocity and aggressiveness!

  7. Man I miss Shannon Lucas :l

    That being said, track absolutely flays, as expected. These guys haven’t released anything below the bar of “dick-stiffeningly spectacular” from Nocturnal on. Unbelievably consistent and entertaining group. I’ll never understand how someone can hear a Ryan Knight solo and still say anything negative about them.

    • You’re not the only one who misses Shannon Lucas. We should get a support group. Alan Cassidy isn’t bad at all, but I really felt Shannon Lucas drumming brought out the best in the songs.

  8. Still do not understand the appeal of this band…musically theyre competent if completely unremarkable…

    …vocally..well Id rather punch myself in the beanbag for 45 minutes rather than listen to that half-assed growl be mixed with that obnoxious shriek

  9. I like to say things in simple ways because who knows? I’m Probably simple minded on many levels but bottom line to me is TBDM is a Killer band that stays true to their sound and most of us “Metal” peeps are elitist whether we admit it or not. That being said this is a KILLER track and I think the whole outing will slay. They are some awesome dudes who love awesome music and use it in their influence on every new thing they do and I have no doubts that Abysmal will be another solid release. Hornz High!! \M/\M/

  10. Loving the track. The album art, on the other hand, looks like some boring stock brutal death metal art – a huge step down from the fantastic artwork on Everblack.

    I will also say that, though TBDM peaked with Nocturnal and Deflorate (for me, especially the latter, though probably because I heard it first), I’ve still loved the stuff on Ritual and Everblack, though those records have had a few more misses than their predecessors (also, I can’t remember the last time I listened to Miasma, or whether I’ve spun Unhallowed more than once). And I concur with the those who miss Shannon Lucas – nothing on Alan Cassidy – dude’s a great drummer who’s brought an interesting subtle black metal bent to the band – but Lucas drummed on my favorite of their albums, and there’s something about his pocket work, blasting, and snare work that’s undeniably unique and distinctive.

  11. I never really listened to them in the past, so I can’t compare, but this is enjoyable. I don’t quite feel like it’s something I’m going to run out and buy, but I can still dig it.

    It’s better than getting dried shit forcefully reinserted into my bung.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.