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Back in 2007 The Black Dahlia Murder released Nocturnal, an excellent improvement over their 2005 full-length release, Miasma. Whereas Miasma felt rushed, with very unimaginative drum work and only a few songs that stood out, Nocturnal was an example of tight song writing and musicianship. Drummer Shannon Lucas, formerly of All That Remains, brought a signature sound that helped the album stand out over their previous releases. So here we are two years later and you figure it can only get better from here for Black Dahlia right?
Things can change for a band. For starters long-time guitarist and founding member John Kempainen, opted to leave BDM last year, in pursuit of other goals. Ryan Knight, former guitarist of technical death metal outfit Arsis, was tapped to take his place. While this isn't a bad thing, it harbored the dread that BDM would become more technical the retaining the melodic sound they have made so famous for themselves. After extensive touring the band entered the studio to record their latest effort, Deflorate.
Now if you were expecting something new from The Black Dahlia Murder, then you'll probably be sorely disappointed with Deflorate. This album is essentially Nocturnal Part 2, consisting of a similar song structure found on the aforementioned release. The good news is the musicianship is as solid as before. Each band member contributes to the album to the fullest of their abilities. The guitar solos stand out a bit more than on Nocturnal. It's obvious that Ryan Knight's time in Arsis certainly influenced the guitar playing quite a bit, as each solo, while still containing the melodic tones that the band is so famous for, are now more technical and tighter than usual. The drumming stands out just as it did on Nocturnal, with Shannon Lucas blasting away with incredible proficiency.
Deflorate isn't going to break down any barriers or create a new premise for future bands to follow but all the right elements are included on this album. While some people may be put off by the lack of variety, fans of Nocturnal will definitely want to pick up Deflorate. If nothing else, this album will at least pin the band as being consistent.