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.