From the John Carpenter-esque drone signaling the arrival of opening salvo “Widowmaker”, you can tell that Nightbringers, the eighth record from thrash metal elder gods The Black Dahlia Murder, is not under any circumstances fucking with you. Though seemingly a spiritual successor to Nocturnal (2007), with similar art direction and the band having just come off of a tour celebrating that landmark’s 10 year anniversary, the scathing, grinding fury of Nightbringers feels more akin to the direct approach of 2009’s Deflorate, which if you put a gun to my head, I’d probably say was my favorite BDM record, aside from, of course, their groundbreaking debut Unhallowed. The blood red milieu of Nightbringers isn’t just a clever stylistic choice but a mission statement of total destruction. Back up motherfuckers, The Black Dahlia Murder is back, and you’re fucked.
The jewel in Nightbringers‘ supremely pissed off crown is “Kings of the Nightworld”, achieving an almost Ghoul level of manic homicidal intensity, frontman Trevor Strnad‘s trademark schizophrenic delivery reaching new levels of insanity (amongst gang vocals of all things), alongside Alan Cassidy’s runaway train of double bass and a catastrophic, shredding solo from recent addition Brandon Ellis. Not that the band ever stops to catch their breath elsewhere on the record, with frenzied, operatic speed picking on “Catacomb Hecatomb” and “Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake” a driving, almost upbeat whirlwind of gothic chaos.
“Matriarch” is a similarly violent ear worm, as cutting as it is catchy, as the whiplash inducing ebb and flow of “Jars” (More gang vocals! Yes!) anchors the record with just enough groove inflected crunch, it’s protracted outro boasting Nightbringers‘ most gloriously noodly guitar gymnastics. When BDM does slow down just a tad for the epic title track, it’s a doomy, low end heavy stomping march in the vein of iconic Nocturnal anthem “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse”, a head banging instant classic sure to become an indelible setlist staple.
While American bands of a similar vintage like Lamb of God and Whitechapel’s latest releases have them easing into a comfortable, clean singing elder statesman role, The Black Dahlia Murder have crafted their most aggressive and abrasive document yet with Nightbringers. As Strnad exclaims in the hat tip to Megadeth during the chorus of “Widowmaker”: “Killing is my business, at my business I excel”.
The Black Dahlia Murder‘s “Nightbringers” is out 10/6 on Metal Blade, but you can hear it early at our Listening Party (https://www.facebook.com/events/422059868195612/) at Tattooed Mom on South Street this Friday night, 9/29, at 7pm!