The Black Dahlia Murder


Written by: BL on 23/01/2010 06:39:53

Taking a break from reviewing stuff for all the kids with the skinny jeans and identikit haircuts I decided to pick something a little different to review. Originally on AP's review list, I decided to relieve him of The Black Dahlia Murder's latest effort simply because he said he had no interest in the band anymore and wanted to focus his attention elsewhere. Being somewhat familiar with the last two albums in "Miasma" and "Nocturnal" I decided to whip through "Deflorate" a few times and found the usual blisteringly fast guitars all wrapped in a death but albeit melodic metal package. While indeed the album still retains the core sound of the band, I did pick up on a few rather more subtle differences along the way too.

For a start, the songs have gotten probably as technical as they have ever been. Everything feels faster and more intricate all the time with rampant yet meticulously tight guitar work, traversing the fret board up and down at pace just for kicks. The constant interchanges between the razor sharp melodic riffs with an occasional machine gun like rhythm section keep things quite varied and the songs are still catchy as hell ("Christ Deformed" being an excellent example of being technical but still hook driven), but at the same time this is still essentially the same Black Dahlia Murder we've seen for last two releases now but just slightly more refined. Newcomer to the band and ex-Arsis guitarist Ryan Knight leaves the most prominent mark on this album with some rather delicious and life injecting lead guitar work. Guitar solos on last albums have always felt just alright, where you simply acknowledged their presence but never felt as if they were anything but ordinary. Now though spread across the album you have a couple of far more stand out solos, and not just because they feel challenging but actually because they appear more tasteful and appreciative of the rhythm guitar groundwork that has been placed beneath them (my favourite being found on "Throne Of Lunacy").

The production gives everything a shiny coat so I was able appreciate all the notes played but doesn't overdo it as well and still sounds raw enough to still be quite visceral when things get heavy. The drumming from Shannon Lucas is competent as always and complements the warp speed guitar riffing by effortlessly following along with the usual pulverising blast beats and double bass pedal spam affair which I thoroughly enjoy, but hardly find special considering drummers in this kind of metal all tend to sound quite similar - at least to me since I am not much of a drummer. In similar respect Trevor Strnad's vocal work still consists mostly of his trademark high pitched shrieks and the occasional low growls which have improved (and more varied in how they're deployed) but are now so widely used by so many other bands they don't stand out so much among the pack.

In a way that is the main weakness of this entire album. While I can always appreciate greater technicality I do wish there were more standout tracks like the aforementioned "Christ Deformed" and "Throne Of Lunacy" as well as the rather epic and grand closer "I Will Return". The rest of the songs are still quite good though so if you have been following this band or if you like fast (and American) extreme death metal with a melodic death metal twist then you will surely not be disappointed. But outsiders will not find anything too inviting.


Download: Black Valor, Christ Deformed, Throne Of Lunacy, I Will Return
For the fans of: At The Gates, Carcass, Job For A Cowboy
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.09.2009
Metal Blade

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXII