You can always count on American melodeath elder statesmen The Black Dahlia Murder to bring something new to the bloodsoaked and body part strewn table, and the Michigan heroes continue to evolve with their recently released seventh LP, “Abysmal”. 2013’s “Everblack” was more of a straightforward thrash minded return to form for the band after their experiments in a more progressive, technical death metal sound on 2011’s “Ritual”, and “Abysmal” here blends the two styles extremely effectively, the plodding song lengths that sometime bogged down “Ritual” adapted into the thrashier, punkier, quick and dirty three minute masterpieces that initially wormed BDM into our hearts.
The difference maker here, as always, is versatile and incredibly talented frontman Trevor Strnad, who is a man possessed with a rapid fire delivery on standout tracks like Vlad, Son of the Dragon (the perfect companion to the Castlevania inspired What a Horrible Night to have a Curse) and Threat Level No. 3, and I’ve seen these guys live enough times to know that his breathless fire breathing isn’t any studio trickery and will be just as maniacally impressive when these songs make their way onto the setlist. The rest of the band is just as seasoned and primed though, keeping the same exact lineup from “Everblack”, eschewing the revolving door that the band tends to be aside from Strnad and guitarist Brian Eschbach. The comfort and familiarity the players have with one another shows in the confidence and skill on display, especially on rippers like the opener and first single Receipt, the earth shattering title track, and my personal favorite, the driving mid-tempo stomper (similar to “Nocturnal” classic Christ Deformed) The Fog.
After nearly 13 years on the national scene and seven full length records, it’s incredibly refreshing that The Black Dahlia Murder continues to be one of the most consistent, reliable and yet still surprising bands in metal.
The Black Dahlia Murder’s Abysmal was released 9/18 on Metal Blade Records and they’ll be at Union Transfer on 12/15 with Goatwhore and Iron Reagan.