Review Summary: The defining album for a band struggling so hard to define themselves. Well worth a listen.
Twisted spires and towers shrouded by the deep blue shade of twilight. This album projects that image of that iconic castle. Many see this album as a fairly good album with a very unique take on death metal. Simply to look at, then move on. It deserves more than that. The Black Dahlia Murder may not be the most powerful, or soulful force in the death metal forefront but it definitely has enough merit to be there. The album is short but each song masterfully composed. Each song is so different from another. The phrase, “it’s like the first three albums all came from the same album,” has been used many times, but to say that about this work of art would not do justice. The production value is so incredibly clean and focused, and its style is so much more organised then Miasma. Because of that it is surprising to see how much Noctural is often overlooked in the realm of metal.
Nocturnal starts off with Everything Went Black. It starts quiet with the crickets chirping in the background, calm before the storm, and what a storm it is. Somewhat gothic guitar rifts along with the regular “chug chug” bass drums we know so well. All of a sudden, the vocals cut through the veil like a blade. Strnad’s vocals are so crisp and sharp. There are no fuzzy, spit gurgling vocals like in Miasma. This song was the start of a new persona for a formerly “so so” band. The second track beats in like a hammer. The track is slow compared but extremely powerful. After What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, you begin to think, “Maybe this TBDM album isn’t as generic as I though it would be"” Virally Yours cuts in quick, quite possibly my favourite of the album. It lyrics are very well constructed, maybe the subject matter is a little dicey but the song was definitely written for shock value which it does very well. The low gutturals are used much more liberally than they have so far. Perhaps the weakest track of the album is next. It comes in fast and leaves twice and quick. It is short and the chorus is good not great, but if given time, even this track can be appreciated in the big picture.
The title track’s is powerfully dark. It really relates back to their older stuff, in subject pace and style. It brings back that nostalgia of Unhallowed and shows that they have not completely changed. Shortly after is Deathmask Divine which is easy the defining song of the album. It is crazily fast and catchy. The lyrics are really the most beautiful part. They are really well written and the story they tell is frightening but curious. The rest of the album becomes more down beat and slow (with the exception of Climactic Degradation which is very upbeat.) To A Breathless Oblivion is fairly slow and depressing as well as Warborn. Warborn is often overlooked because of its slow pace and droning vocals but it is a necessary lead out for the album. It fades out slowly leaving you is silence….and you just say Wow!
The album works so well because of its content and strength, as well as how it is strung together. Each song complements the one before it and so on. The extremely dark tone is used much more than in any other TBDM album which really shows how diverse they can be. The melodic feel is also used so much more, and the solos are longer and more precise. All of these factors are mixed together expertly to make this masterful album. It makes you feel somewhat bad for them because, this album is impossible to top (which has to do why Deflorate got so much bad feedback.) Go out and give these guys another chance!
Songs to listen to:
Do yourself a favour an listen to the whole album!!!