The Black Dahlia Murder
Verminous


4.0
excellent

Review

by blou52 USER (23 Reviews)
April 17th, 2020 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Children of the night, blast fiends unite!

Since the band’s inception, The Black Dahlia Murder have released a new album two years after the preceding album. When it was clear that Verminous was not going to appear within the two year time frame since 2017’s return to form, Nightbringers, there was a spectrum of possible beliefs about this new album. On one hand, it seemed destined to become cursed, breaking the formula cemented by the previous eight albums. Yet, having extra time to work on the album, there was hope for TBDM to labor over the album, honing and attuning each detail of the album. Given that their 2017 outing was received with high praise by both the bands fan-base and even those not particularly familiar with TBDM, this album faced especially high expectations from all fronts. I am proud to say that Verminous is a properly designed and skillfully executed followup to Nightbringers.

Unexpectedly, TBDM don’t seem particularly interested in tapping into the speed of the albums that brought them the fame they revel in now. Songs such as “Dawn of Rats” and “Godlessly” serve as torchbearers for the speed and momentum that Nocturnal and Nightbringers contained such (un)healthy doses of, but they still contain slower sections too. Viewing the entire album at once, Verminous sets a slightly more relaxed, mid-tempo pace that allows for greater dynamics than on their more brisk releases. While those releases are phenomenal in their own right, an unrelenting stream of speed can leave a longtime listener feeling blasé when led to that same stream again. Furthermore, TBDM seemed to reach a sort of plateau in terms of tempo, becoming faster wouldn’t seem to make sense. Slayer knew this reality before they released South of Heaven, and it appears that so does TBDM. To illustrate this point, consider the sublime riff found at 1:45 in the track “Sunless Empire”. The playing isn’t particularly slow, but it doesn’t instill the same feelings of rapid riffing that its forefathers did.

Displaying his trademark oscillatory vocal style, vocalist/frontman Trevor Strnad’s performance will slake the desires of screams and growls as he’s done so often before. In what could be viewed as an experimental departure for Strnad, he implements a somewhat talkative vocal style in sections of “The Wereworm’s Feast”. It seems that this experiment may have been released accidentally, since the style doesn’t exactly flow well. To call it outright bad isn’t correct, but it feels as if it should have gone through more testing before the results were published. Countering this small error, the production is better than on their release. Verminous’ production allows each instrument space to breathe and become distinct, thereby easing the fatigue that the higher pitch riffs can cause.

Keeping the exact same lineup since 2016, the members of TBDM seem to be collaborating with each other to bring about greater diversity in playing. Whether this is largely a result of relatively new guitar player Brandon Elliss’ youthfulness is uncertain. Drummer Alan Cassidy performs the fleet-footed drumming admirably and often maintains his speed while the other members slow down. His performance won’t likely become the instrument you focus on in the album, but his pace keeps all the other instruments cohesive and offers the foundation needed for them. Both taking a smaller role in the album, bassist Max Lavelle and longtime guitarist Brian Eschbach add the essential spices to this poisoned stew. Their musicianship isn’t the centerpiece of the album, but without their support, the whole album would lose a substantial amount of life.

The Black Dahlia Murder hold a special place in my heart. They were the first extreme metal band I’d ever heard, and I was nine years old. Hearing the change in style from the recordings back then to what can be heard now is reassuring. Despite their changes, I'm confident that they will continue to output releases that retain their best aspects, but implement enough variation to make each new release worthwhile, just as they have with Verminous.



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user ratings (372)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Robert Davis (3.5)
The band's ninth full-length shows no signs of giving up....



Comments:Add a Comment 
blou52
April 17th 2020


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I know it's barely been a day since my last review, but I didn't realize this was coming out today

metalhead2425
April 17th 2020


388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Riffs hard

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


47231 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review aye, hope to be checking soon



didnt expect this would get two reviews in one day lmao

Itwasthatwas
April 17th 2020


3177 Comments


lol which bdm album were you listening to at 9 years old

parksungjoon
April 17th 2020


47231 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the debut maybe?

blou52
April 17th 2020


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, the first song I heard by them was Nocturnal, that was on Sirius XM radio or something. Then I found the video for Necropolis a bit later and its all downhill from there

Sniff
April 17th 2020


8036 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Is it just me or is it something off with the prod?

blou52
April 17th 2020


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Honestly, I was feeling like something was off with the production of their older stuff when compared to this

Sniff
April 17th 2020


8036 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hmm interesting

Itwasthatwas
April 17th 2020


3177 Comments


nocturnal has great production

AxeToFall93
April 17th 2020


316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album slays. Maybe even better than Nightbringers.



Also great production, compare this to their stuffen between Ritual and Abysmal, which all sound absolutely horrible.

blou52
April 17th 2020


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think that part of the problem is that TBDM keeps changing where they record the albums, and they even use different studios for multiple instruments in the same album. This album was apparantly recorded at Brandon Ellis' home studio, except the drums were recorded elsewhere

Itwasthatwas
April 17th 2020


3177 Comments


it’s normal and possibly a good idea to keep changing up where you record
in this day and age it does still help to pay for a proper drum room and experienced engineer, but for everything else you can do perfectly fine at home

Itwasthatwas
April 17th 2020


3177 Comments


it’s more important who mixes the album. the mix engineer can re-amp all the guitars and bass and can replace drum hits with samples and so on

Ebola
April 17th 2020


4506 Comments


this band is so fucking good

brainmelter
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2020


8318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

pos’d my dude, I like this more than the last one

parksungjoon
April 18th 2020


47231 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

sup

Scoot
April 18th 2020


22173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys are the chevelle of death metal



honestly make some quality shit though

blou52
April 18th 2020


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not up to date on my Chevelle trivia, what makes them similar?

tellah
April 19th 2020


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i think he means consistently good/solid but not amazing albums, but i wont speak for them



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