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Draws from the same well a little too much. - 70%

hells_unicorn, November 12th, 2012

Metalcore is something that is often associated with American efforts at melodeath, as most of the time the former sub-genre is looked upon as a dirty word for good reason. It carries with it a stigma of a bastardized, commercialized version of something that is itself a sub-genre that is treated with a strong level of skepticism in extreme circles for the past 15 years, namely the signature Gothenburg sound that has been explored even more heavily than its alleged power metal equivalent in Finland ala Children Of Bodom and company. In light of this, The Black Dahlia Murder is often passed up by the underground, though they have a decent following States side and manage to buck the trend somewhat with a great deal of intensity, and "Deflorate" stands as one of their most intense offerings.

Perhaps the greatest flaw of this album is that, in spite of its relatively strict adherence to the standards set by At The Gates in the musical department, it tries just a little too hard at avoiding sounding lightweight in the mold of many cookie cutter metalcore oriented bands and becomes an exercise in overkill all but immediately. All the gratuitous blast beats and wild tremolo riffs heard on "The Red In The Sky Is Ours" have been concentrated to the point that one can't go more than a minute without being bombarded by them. This approach is readily on display on most of the early 2000s offerings of The Crown, but on this particular album, the groovy thrash breaks that normally act as an effective counterbalance are less frequent and often wanting.

The result of all the elements being implemented in this overtly exaggerated way is a series of songs that have a hard time being recognizable apart from each other. Perhaps the lone example where things truly start to change up a bit is "Throne Of Lunacy", which reaches a bit more towards a traditional sound in line with the Stockholm scene and a handful of American affiliates of the mid 90s, but still contains a fair amount of those predictable melodic clich├ęs and sweep-happy guitar solos. In fact, the lead guitar department is primarily where this band does an exemplary job, channeling a sound with about the same level of technical competence as Alexi Laiho, but in a somewhat more tasteful and brief manner that is appropriate for a band writing high tempo crushers clocking in mostly at or under 3 minutes.

While definitely geared towards a younger generation of American melodeath affiliates who probably have heard little of the original Gothenburg trio apart from what's been put out since 2005, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see an album like this getting a bit more respect from those who cleave to At The Gates and the middle period of The Crown. The vocal work definitely contains a fair amount of American hardcore tinges to it, though it's not quite as obnoxiously whiny as Trivium's approach, but the instrumental department is definitely trying to get as close to an orthodox Gothenburg sound as can be expected out of a band hailing from Michigan. For those who took to Battlecross' debut, a lot of what is on there can be found here, though in a somewhat less memorable fashion. It's one of TBDM's better offerings, but doesn't get beyond being about average, despite a very ambitious album art and a fair amount of technical detailing.