Review Summary: Everything a death metal fan should expect from an album is in "Ritual"; The Black Dahlia Murder are still at their peak.
Melodic death metal holds its origins from ‘90s, with bands such as In Flames
, Dark Tranquility
or At the Gates
. Since then, some bands have taken melodic death metal in a more deathcore-oriented style through the inclusion of copious amounts of breakdowns. Lyrical themes have gone from horror, murder and blood themes to lighter lyrics, being sung into melodic choruses. Nevertheless, this doesn’t apply to ALL metal acts. Some of them can still be defined as true “melodic death metal” bands and this is the case with The Black Dahlia Murder. They once again proved they have the ability to create such an atmospheric mix of dark lyrics combined with melodic riffs found on their previous efforts, which keeps the listener hooked and interested. Trevor Strnad’s dark lyrics, as showed in The Window
for example, give the overall atmosphere of the album an obscure touch, but do not take away any of the emotion and melody. This is also greatly showcased in Blood in the Ink
, where the main theme of the song – suicide – is implemented into a catchy chorus. The musicianship is undeniably great, and every member demonstrates his skill. Blast beats are amazingly executed by Shannon Lucas, who, from a drummer’s perspective, is very impressive. The guitar work is phenomenal, and the Carbonized in Cruciform
intro contains an interesting acoustic part. Songs are diversified, and flow together in a beautiful way. The energy on Ritual
is not lacking, though; Strnad’s shrieks are at their finest – even if this is not coming from a fan of these. The few growls give the album a new level of intensity, which is welcomed on pretty much any metal album.
All things considered, Ritual
offers what should be expected from any death metal fan. TBDM are a perfect example of what death metal should be: extreme metal at its darkest.