The Black Dahlia Murder

Ritual

Written by: AP on 14/12/2011 22:08:38

Given their interest in virtually every facet of extreme metal, the Black Dahlia Murder have always been difficult to pigeon hole into a single genre. It might be tempting to dub them simply a deathcore band, but to do so would be a tremendous injustice to the wealth of influences underlying their sound. The band's latest album, "Ritual", makes finding an appropriate label for the band no less simple, condensing into its 45 minutes inspiration from all of thrash, black metal, death metal, melodic death metal and metalcore.

Assessed against its predecessors, "Ritual" is certainly an improvement on "Deflorate", but still a far cry from the visceral malevolence of "Nocturnal", the basis for which was stateside black metal. Here the foundation consists primarily of death metal professed by the likes of All Shall Perish and, to some extent, Job for a Cowboy, with clear overtones of melodic death metal charged with maintaining the band's mass appeal. Songs like "A Shrine to Madness", "Conspiring with the Damned", "Carbonized in Cruciform" and "Blood in the Ink" are as brutal as they are chromatic and grandiose, showcasing the band's multitude of talents with frightening precision. Boasting snarling riffs, soaring leads and solos, dense rhythm sections and Trevor Strnad's signature shrieks and deep growls, these songs epitomize everything that makes "Ritual", and indeed the Black Dahlia Murder such a thrilling proposition.

Having said that, however, the album also suffers from a distinct lack of instant memorabilia in the vein of "Deathmask Divine" or "Miasma"; songs that would afford "Ritual" some much needed edge. True there are few bands producing modern death metal of equivalent quality, but when weighed against "Nocturnal" in particular, the material on offer here sounds a little unambitious for a band in possession of such collective talent. Still, the strength of the aforementioned standout tracks alone is enough to afford "Ritual" considerable praise, and it would be surprising if a blackened thrash metal banger like "Den of the Picquerist" or a brutally syncopated, Decapitated-inspired assault like "Malenchantments of the Necrosphere" weren't regular rotation in the band's live setlists in the months to come.

Download: A Shrine to Madness, Conspiring with the Damned, Carbonized in Cruciform, Blood in the Ink
For the fans of: All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, Salt the Wound
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.06.2011
Metal Blade Records

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