Review Summary: The Black Dahlia Murder step up their efforts and deliver a solid performance and a really fun album to listen to on their 4th release.
The Black Dahlia Murder are usually received two ways; either they are considered by some to be the saviors of American death metal or as some sort of pretentious barbarians who are destroying it. I for one don’t agree with either of these.
In regards to the critiques they get which seem to be centered around “same formula over and over again” or “no deviation in the solo department” I respond in two ways. Firstly, Ryan Knight creates the much needed improvement in the soloing (I really only liked the solo on Deathmask Divine, What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, Funeral Thirst, and Miasma) on their previous releases. Secondly, who cares if the formula is repeated when they are so damn fun to listen to, Amon Amarth releases the same formula over and over again but they are still fun to listen to and for some reason are received much higher and without being ripped apart for it.
Their instrumentals are tighter than ever. Shannon Lucas is a monster of a drummer and keeps the speed up through the whole album, they have really lost any sort of “core” in their music since Miasma and I believe he is a lot of that reason why. As stated before Ryan Knight is very talented (but we all knew that from his days with Arsis) and Brian Eschbach keeps up his end of the guitar playing as well. The bass is only really audible on one song but you could say since he is keeping up with the guitars he is doing his unseen role. One thing that has vastly improved are Trevor Strnad’s vocals. He uses his lows much more on the album and they have gotten much better. His highs were always a strong point and were used the most throughout previous releases with his lows being peppered in throughout the songs, this is no more. More and more songs are dominated by lows and instead the vocal formula is much more varied. Songs such as “Black Valor“ “Necropolis” “That Which Erodes Me The Most Tender” “I Will Return” and “Denounced Disgraced” are all top tracks and really showcase their talent and the changes in their music.
This is the first release that TBDM really create an album that can stand out from their others, no longer does it sound as if they created 3 CD’s out of songs they all wrote at once. Also, it’s so hard to dislike any band that has this much fun with their music and doesn’t take themselves too seriously. This is a must have for any TBDM fan, any death metal fan, or anyone who is willing to give these guys a second chance.