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The Black Dahlia Murder has confirmed the departure of guitar player Ryan Knight, who had been a member of the band since 2008. Brandon Ellis, best known for his work with Arsis, will serve as touring guitarist in the meantime. The band has also booked a spring tour where they will play their 2003 début album Unhallowed, every night. Direct support will come from Fallujah and Disentomb.
Frontman Trevor Strnad commented on the departure of Knight and the spring tour:
“When Ryan first joined the band, he drove from the hospital where his first child had just been born to begin practicing and writing with us, on the eve of the recording of our ‘Deflorate’ album. In his years with the band, he made a lot of sacrifices to be with us and uphold our insanely demanding touring and recording schedule…He always gave us 100 percent, and for that I thank him.
“He is an incredible musician and creative force…It was exciting to make new material with him, and his wealth of knowledge has left its stamp on the band’s music forever. I always knew that his time in the band would be limited, and it has now come time for him to go home and be with his family. Ryan, being the stand:up dude that he is, told us of his plans to leave the band more than a year ago, and with heavy hearts we began to plan for The Black Dahlia Murder’s future.
“We admire that Ryan went to such lengths to make his departure as easy on the band as possible, even going as far as to help us find a talented leadsman in Brandon Ellis – who has been lending us his tremendous guitar skills on the current TBDM tour…Knight is one of my best friends and I wish him the best in everything he does. He will always have a place here in the TBDM family. I look back at our time together with nothing but gratitude.”
“We are very excited to unleash this absolutely crushing line-up upon you all and to play the much requested ‘Unhallowed‘ album in its entirety. The songs are sounding better than ever before, and we can’t wait for you to feast your ears on our debut album as it was meant to be heard. We will also be playing some bangers from our new album, ‘Abysmal‘, and the rest of the catalog…Come out and bring your friends!”
Ryan Knight commented as well:
“After nearly 7 years with The Black Dahlia Murder, I feel the time has come for me to step down and focus on other aspects of my life. The decision to leave was very difficult, yet necessary I feel for me to ultimately be happy and keep moving forward. I feel very lucky to have had the best band:mates/crew (past and present) to traverse the world, guzzle beers, and bring the rock with every night…Thank you guys <3, I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to all our fans for being so cool to me over the years, and all the hardworking people over at Metal Blade Records for their support, and general badassery. In the meantime, I’ll still be teaching guitar, working on new music, and just getting pretty domestic in general. Thanks again!”
Chicago metallers Kastasyde is streaming the title track from their upcoming album Gnosis, out June 2, 2015. Gnosis was mixed and tracked by Chris Wisco at Belle City Sound in Racine, Wisconsin. Drum tracking was done by Pete Grossman at Bricktop Recording in Chicago. The album features a guest guitar solo by Black Dahlia Murder guitarist Ryan Knight as well as lap steel guitar contributions by Justin Spring. The band features Featuring vocalist Jarrett Roberts, guitarists Eric Kornfeind and Jerome Marshall, bassist Dustin Roberts, and drummer Garry Naples (November Doom).
Gnosis Track Listing
Burial in the Sky
In the Spiral
Never at Peace
“I saw the Swellers, a melodic punk rock band from Michigan. They’re really cool. I like those guys. I’m pretty not up date on a lot of current music,” admits The Black Dahlia Murder guitarist Ryan Knight, talking about his band’s stint on a Pomona, CA stop on last summer’s Vans Warped Tour.
Black Dahlia Murder released their most recent album Everblack (Metal Blade) during that tour and it helped put the band out in front of a new audience they had previously not played in front of. A crowd largely made up of fans of Black Veil Brides, Goldfinger and lots of electro and alternative rap audiences is hardly a crowd who would listen to them. Or was it?
“It’s actually been pretty good. It hasn’t been as weird as thought it would be. We’re definitely making some new fans, and have some of our old fans here too. It’s been pretty good.”
Unlike previous stints on Rockstar Mayhem Tour and other metal oriented festival shows, the Warped Tour is a completely new experience for them. Playing largely to pop punk, screamo or ska fans, death metal is very foreign to many fans but somehow they won over the crowd.
“Sometimes you look out into the crowd and people seemed a little puzzled,” he said. “There are some people who seemed interested. But I noticed there aren’t people who are leaving. It’s not like they’re coming over and then they’re walking away. Hopefully it’s opening up people into us and to people who wouldn’t normally come and see us.”
The band is touring behind Everblack, their sixth album. Despite having to pick from six different albums worth of songs, building a set list has become a creative challenge for The Black Dahlia Murder, but something they couldn’t avoid.
“I think for this we’re playing three new songs because we put out a new album. The other ones we try to pick songs…for this tour a little more groove oriented. We try to pick stuff we think would go over easy. It’s not too hard to grasp.”
The album was produced by Jason Suecof and Mark Lewis at Audiohammer Studios in Orlando, FL.
“On this one we took a new ritual – we took different instruments and choir sounds and basically things to make the songs more dynamic. We were pretty much doing that. Again on this album, some of the songs are longer. Some of the arrangements are a little bit different than what we do, but at the same time still trying to keep the band’s style the same. I would say it’s a continuation of Ritual – take what we did on there and take it to the next level. We’re changing little bits at a time instead of completely sounding different.”
“We know what we want to sound like. We’re not trying to redefine the genre. I think we’re trying to find what we do and keep expanding on it in ways we’d want to do so.”
The members are heavily influenced by metal, but their variety of artists they listen to keeps their ideas fresh.
“I don’t know about metal necessarily. I don’t listen to that much metal anyways. I do but it’s the old stuff I was always into. For me, I listen to a lot of stuff from a lead guitars standpoint. Most of the stuff I’m into now is a lot of instrumental fusion stuff and country/surf/blues stuff. Not necessarily saying I’m implementing all of that stuff but…I can’t speak for everyone else but I know the biggest influences are Darkane, Cannibal Corpse, At the Gates, Dissection, Carcass and stuff like that.”
Front man Trevor Strnad is well known to be a Dissection freak and isn’t shy about it either. “He’s like a death metal encyclopedia. I literally don’t know anyone who knows any more about metal. I’ve seen this guy converse people all over the world. All over the world people go ‘this guy knows his shit.’ Trevor is definitely the encyclopedia of the band.”
The rest of the band also shares their likes. “We all like all styles of music. I would say the majority of is still keep metal as number one. A lot of us are into melodic punk rock like Bad Religion and Propaghandi. I’m into a lot of instrumental music.”
While they found their sound, one thing they can’t seem to hold down would be drummers. Shannon Lucas departed and they found Alan Cassidy is the new drummer.
“Our old drummer Shannon [Lucas] got married and just got tired of touring. It’s understandable. Shannon decided to leave. We got Alan Cassidy. Alan was playing with Abigail Williams at the time. He’s also playing in the Breathing Process. The way that we recruited him was I was in Chicago and I went to an Abigail Williams’ last show. I knew Ken [Begeron]. I was watching them and I was like ‘whoever is on drums is really good.’ I could tell they were playing to a click track live. Ken said we should hit him up.”
Despite the band’s popularity, drummers couldn’t keep up with the demand of the music. Being a hard job is an understatement, but Black Dahlia Murder moves on.
“I think in this genre of death metal it’s a trying, physical thing for drummers. To be able to do that every day is very tiring on the body and plus all the touring. I think a combination between the two over a six or seven year span. I think Shannon likes metal but doesn’t want to play it. He’s been doing it seven years straight, 16 songs a night.”
“Shannon’s playing in some hardcore bands now. Totally different world from what he was doing.”
As comes with growing popularity, opportunities abound for the crowned princes of the death metal fraternity. Lastly, Strnad had guested on a Broken Hope track, as well as a few other appearances on records. Knight shared what he has worked on.
“I actually did some guest solos. I did some guest leads on the new Arsis record, which is the band I came from. I did some guest leads on the Mors Principium Est record. I did some new stuff on the Hatesphere record. Those are the most notable ones.”
By Rei Nishimoto