The Black Dahlia Murder have been the picture of consistency when it comes to modern extreme metal. Ever since planting their flag firmly on Death Metal in an era when so many contemporaries cashed in on the Metalcore and Deathcore frenzies, Dahlia can always be expected to provide strong content. So, after years of successful albums and touring, it’s natural to expect this Michigan outfit to take it easy, but boy is that wrong. New album Nightbringers (Metal Blade) is the type of work you get from angry young men with something to prove.
The Black Dahlia Murder is again hyper-focusing on the Melodic Death Metal of their formative years and honing it down to its finest edge. Guitarists Brian Eschbach and former Arsis axe-man Brandon Ellis dig deep and uncover the best melodic shred that At The Gates never used on ‘Widowmaker’ and the blast-beat laden ‘Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake.’ Ellis’ also needs to be commended for his effortless and spellbinding lead and solo work that functions in tandem with vocalist Trevor Strnad’s gift for alternating between piercing shrieks and low barks.
This rabid attachment to urgent songwriting is also available on melo-death barnburners like ‘Jars’ and ‘Matriarch.’ But not all bangers on Nightbringers function in warped drive, as the title track is staged around building tension and utilizing its riffs and beats as the brick and mortar to hold up the melodies and majestic solos. Then we have ‘Kings of the Nightworld’ which in terms of songwriting sits with Goatwhore’s thrashier moments. What does all that mean? One listen and you’ll be convinced that you’ve found the ideal tempo for headbanging. Many a circle pit will be launched on the foundation of this track’s violent strings, gang vocals, and peppering leads.
The reason I’ll always back The Black Dahlia Murder is that ever since I saw them sweating it out on a cramped Ozzfest stage in 2005, they’ve yet to let me down. And on top of that they’ll throw us albums like Miasma, Nocturnal, Ritual, and now Nightbringers, to remind us why they’ve outlasted so many peers and trends.