(Andy Synn reviews the new album from The Black Dahlia Murder.)
Well here it is, the latest and much-hyped release by Michigan melodic death metal heavyweights The Black Dahlia Murder. And let me tell you now, it seems the hype may well be fully justified. This is indeed a stunning album, all its parts fitting seamlessly, all its cogs and gears working in perfect synchronicity. Ignore those who claim that this is a sequel to Unhallowed – it isn’t. That’s a woefully limited view of things. Though those people may wish to believe that statement, having never got past the simple pleasures offered by the group’s debut, in truth this record serves to drastically further the progress that the band have shown ever since their inception.
With Ritual the group deliver an ambitious expansion of the sound of Deflorate, whose more overtly melodic twists and turns were themselves an expansion of the renewed focus and extremity of Nocturnal (still their best for me), which in turn expanded on the mix of hooks and crushing brutality found on Miasma, itself a clear step forward from the (relatively) primitive song-writing and tenebrous melodies of their debut. The lines of progression and growth are clear, and while the record remains tied to the sound that began with Unhallowed, it is far more than a rehash of old ideas, far more than a return to older times. It is a new vision that retains the identity of the old while looking boldly toward the new. (more after the jump . . .)