The Black Dahlia Murder – “Nightbringers” (Metal Blade Records)
Formed in 2001, there was a point where The Black Dahlia Murder were seen as US clones of Swedish melodic death bands like In Flames, At The Gates and Darkane. However, over the years they’ve grown in every aspect from refining their work to reach the standards of the greats while keeping it all real and to the point when many of those bigger bands moved into other realms. As such, their fan base has grown exponentially through massive amounts of touring along with commensurate levels of respect for their dependability in releasing regular albums that while being short, are densely packed with technical melody while fomenting bountiful amounts of aggression! “Nightbringers” is The Black Dahlia Murder’s 8th release and perfectly timed as with their other albums as being around 2 years apart. Centered around the core sound of founders vocalist Trevor Strnad and guitarist Brian Eschbach who are now joined by new guitarist Brandon Ellis (Arsis, ex-Cannabis Corpse), it’s clear how the maturity over the years has added to the enrichment of the material, while unrelenting in the ferocity of its delivery. From meaty hooks to passionate melodies and memorable riffs most of which are delivered at breathtaking speed and even more jaw dropping precision, The Black Dahlia Murder are definitely on a mission to prove what death metal can be all about beyond its general perception through songs like ‘Matriarch’ with its impressive neo classical soloing from Brandon and an ultra catchy chorus – to mention the gory lyrics that make an intelligent switch telling of one woman’s sick desire to carve a baby out of another woman because she can’t have one herself – all written naturally from the woman’s standpoint ha ha! Then there’s the title track ‘Nightbringers’ with yet another monster hook taking its time to sink deeply into your soul slickly contrasted by Alan Cassidy’s blurring drum work all brought to life vividly as invoked by Trevor Strnad’s blatantly acidic anti religious lyrics ‘.. Onward we fight, yank the deadened Christ-pig right off of that cross…Stab in him in the side again it’s none of our loss.. This time no more feeble minds will not be hypnotized by their disease..’!! Heading into Obituary territory with its punkish element and hoarse shout outs while pulling an absolute mind f–k in throwing in an epic Norse melody is ‘Kings of the Nightworld‘ – simply blew me away man….This is the fine art of perfecting suaveness with savagery and The Black Dahlia Murder have done it in bunches here on what must be their finest hour to date.