The Black Dahlia Murder
10 June 2013
by Rob McAuslan
Have wallies stopped calling The Black Dahlia Murder a “metalcore” band yet? As cases of mistaken genre identity go, this is one of the sillier ones. How many slabs of scathingly-vicious, speaker-ruiningly heavy death metal do you need to release before people look past the odd stretched earlobe and short haircut and just accept what a band actually sounds like? Album number six in what’s becoming an accelerating run of form might not change any more slightly-slow minds than 2011’s Ritual managed to, but by this point it doesn’t really matter what you call them – The Black Dahlia Murder and their brand of savage yet accessible melodic death metal aren’t going away any time soon.
The post-Ritual loss of drummer Shannon Lucas and bassist Ryan Williams caused a little concern, but the core writing duo of Trevor Strnad on vocals and Brian Eschbach on guitar remains, as does the secret weapon that is Ryan Knight on lead guitar. Knight’s addition for Deflorate instantly elevated the band from strong contenders to potential leaders, with even the band’s more “standard” songs (‘A Selection Unnatural’ or ‘The Grave Robber’s Work’, for example) benefitting hugely from his unique sound – fretboard-spanning technicality and delicate, blues-inflected touch come together with classic hard rock tone and inspired composition to create some jaw-dropping solos. Everblack integrates Knight even more tightly, with more melody, harmony and counterpoint evident than ever before (the classical flourish in the solo of ‘Map Of Scars’ got a genuine slack-jawed doubletake out of me the first time I heard it) but rather than diluting their brutality it only serves to highlight just how nasty The Black Dahlia Murder get in full flight.
Watch the awkwardest video we’ve ever shot with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder:
Everblack eliminates one of the few legitimate criticisms that people have been able to level at The Black Dahlia Murder, by refining their writing to the point where Everblack is an album full of proper, memorable songs rather than the disjointed feel some of their earlier efforts possessed. Previously for every flash of excellence like ‘Thy Horror Cosmic’ or ‘Denounced, Disgraced’, there was always a ‘Spite Suicide’ or ‘Climactic Degradation’ right behind to spoil the party. Every song on Everblack though is a unique, dynamic and interesting creation in its own right. From the opening anthemic intro of ‘In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me’ through to the downbeat atmospherics that close out ‘Map Of Scars’, it’s yet another step up in songwriting ability from a band that until now haven’t entirely justified some of their more excitable album reviews, and an emphatic statement of intended longevity.
Sounds Like: Carcass and At The Gates via the bestial crush of early-90s Florida
Standout Tracks: Phantom Limb Masturbation, Blood Mine, Map Of Scars