The Black Dahlia Murder – “Abysmal” (Metal Blade Records)
Damn, how fast is this album?!?!?! If drummer Alan Cassidy peddled any faster I swear his legs would catch fire!!!! This has gotta be the speediest and most Scandinavian sounding album I’ve heard in a while from these Michigan melodic death metallers. Definitely coming off “Everblack” and possibly “Ritual” too, it sounds like The Black Dahlia Murder have brought it all together on the perversely named “Abysmal” – which, rest assured, is anything but that! While being undisputedly violent in its propelling velocity, Abysmal is certainly a long way from being a uni dimensional blast fest with guitarists Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight really pulling out the stops not only to keep pace with the racing Cassidy in turning out their own chundering riffola. They have also taken a big leap of faith on ‘The Fog’ in spitting out plenty of Scandi melodies reminiscent of At The Gates and Dissection, but equally in the soloing dept where Knight continues to impress with intoxicating flavors of black and heavy metal, even wowing occasionally by venturing into Megadeth levels of technical virtuosity! Now on their seventh studio album, “Abysmal” embraces all the finest qualities of melodic death metal yet does not shackle The Black Dahlia Murder, giving them room to constantly evolve and grow as musicians no better exemplified than on the chopping epic of ‘Vlad, Son Of The Dragon’ with its haunting sound as inspired by Bram Stoker and completed by some oi oi metalcore warrior shout outs! Equally, the dynamism of the band can be attested on ‘The Advent’ which very slickly shows a variety of different tempos being simultaneously played from slow melodic solos with a blast beat background before the whole band go into a slow n heavy groove where Max Lavelle’s bass really becomes the driver before exploding once more towards a rubber burning speedfest end – phew! With songs guaranteed to work a treat live for not just their intensity but also the intelligence behind them “Abysmal” notches yet another success in the band’s longevity and one that they can hold their heads up high to.