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Phantom Limb Masterpiece - 100%

OxygenCorrosion, March 24th, 2017

I’ve long been a huge fan of The Black Dahlia Murder and their distinctive flair of melodic death metal. Of all the incredible albums that they’ve put out so far, I’ve got to say that their sixth full-length, Everblack, is my absolute favorite. This record is a masterpiece that showcases The Black Dahlia Murder at their darkest and heaviest.

The first track, “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me,” is a perfect introduction to the album and is one of my favorite songs ever written by this band. It’s fast and unrelentingly heavy, letting you know that The Black Dahlia Murder aren't fucking around here. Brutality is the name of the game on Everblack, with a clear emphasis being placed on it as opposed to the band’s more melodic and technical elements, which are somewhat dialed back in contrast to previous albums. This is particularly apparent in tracks like “Into the Everblack” and “Phantom Limb Masturbation,” which feature some of the heaviest riffing on the album. Don’t get me wrong though; there’s still plenty of melody to be found throughout the album as The Black Dalia Murder’s balance of melody and brutality remains carefully preserved.

The musicianship on Everblack is phenomenal. As always, Trevor Strnad exhibits his wide vocal range in the form of black metal-esque shrieks and death growls that both sound great. Trevor is easily one of the greatest vocalists in death metal. I also thoroughly enjoy the guitars on this album, especially the lead work of Ryan Knight. Everblack throws countless crushing riffs, catchy melodies, and brilliant solos at you throughout its 45 minute runtime. Anyone who appreciates a good death metal tune will be awed by the infectious chorus of “Control” or the simply amazing solo on “Map of Scars.” The drumming on Everblackis also highly enjoyable. Alan Cassidy is an excellent drummer who really stands out during the faster sections of the album where he blasts away like a maniac. His drumming is very tight and technical.

Everything about Everblack is executed perfectly. The Black Dahlia Murder are absolute musical geniuses when it comes to delivering death metal that’s equally punishing and catchy. Each song on this record is memorable in its own right and every time I listen to it I crave more. Drop what you’re doing right now and go buy this album; you won’t be disappointed.

The Black Dahlia Murder-Everblack - 96%

metalhead622, June 13th, 2015

The Black Dahlia Murder are a band who are very consistent while also being very diversified at the same time. They release an album every two years, and have since the beginning of their career, and each album has had a new element incorporated within compared to the last. Some changes weren't too drastic (Nocturnal to Deflorate) and some were filled with change (Ritual to Everblack.) Their new album "Abysmal" is coming out this September, and I have eagerly been awaiting the single to drop with the album. I went back and listened to Everblack, and determined that I should review the album.

First of all, I understand why some people may not enjoy this album as much as the others. The style change is honestly something that has not been heard of from The Black Dahlia Murder before. A lot of the killer melodic songs that Black Dahlia are known for are absent on this record, with the rhythmic songs actually lacking a bit, but it works very well. Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn, Control, Blood Mine, and Their Beloved Absentee hold the rhythm and melody down very well, while others like In Hell is Where She Waits for Me, Phantom Limb Masturbation, Every Rope a Noose and Map of Scars focusing on ridiculously heavy riffing. I enjoy the evolution, because it puts an end to monotony, and also helps individualize the release. The addition of two new members to replace drummer Shannon Lucas and bassist Bart Williams is also a bit of an annoyance for some. Despite the loss of damn near all of the rhythm department, save Brian Eschbach, Dahlia has returned stronger than ever, with an album eerier, blacker, and more evil than any of their previous releases, while maintaining amazing the amazing rhythm they are so well-known for.

The production on this album is very nice, with all instruments being heard very clearly throughout the album. The bass can be heard for most of the album, which is a great plus. The drumming sounds excellent, the guitars have a really dark and heavy tone to them which is spectacular, and Trevor's vocals are just as devilishly great as before, with a lot of mix and match between his high shrieks and his lower growls. All in all, it just sounds very vile and evil compared to their previous works. Tie the fact that this album has a very heaping portion of black metal influence, and you can't help but recognize the malicious brutality staring you directly in the face.

The opener is a song every serial killer aficionado has been waiting for; a song about the actual death of Elizabeth Short, commonly referred to as 'The Black Dahlia.' Lyrically it is beautiful and evil at the same time, showcasing the brilliant lyrics lurking within the darkest confides of Trevor's mind. It portrays Elizabeth's killer attending her funeral, unbeknownst to all the others there due to his anonymous attendance. It starts with raining in the beginning, followed by the reciting of a bible verse with the building of instruments in the background, right up until the breaking point, where Trevor belts out a high shriek that starts this album on a strong foot first. It only gets better from here, with great rhythm as well as awesome riffing, great drums, and lyrical patterns that will be stuck in your head for awhile after listening to it.

Lyrically, this album is my favorite from Black Dahlia because of the darkness within. There are two songs about killers, the aforementioned one, and Control, which is about Jeffrey Dahmer. The lyrics also range from complete nihilistic viewpoints, a god who enjoys watching humanity suffer, a cavern of vampires feasting on the blood of children, and many more. My personal favorite song on this album is the last song, Map of Scars. It opens with a riff influenced heavily by black metal, and it has haunting choir vocals in the background to add to the ambiance of death. I won't spoil the lyrics, because they are too good to pass up, telling a story as dark as a black hole in a style similar to Edgar Allan Poe.

One other aspect that makes this album in particular different than the other ones is the fact that there is a bonus track to it, which no other Black Dahlia Murder album prior has had. The bonus track is only available in Japanese versions, and is honestly quite fitting that way. The song is entitled Seppuku, which for those of you who don't know, is a form of suicide performed by Japanese samurai. It is an honor to perform Seppuku, which is essentially self-disembowelment. I enjoy Seppuku very much, and recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed this album, for it has great guitar work by both Brian Eschbac and Ryan Knight, with more vocal patterns that will stick with you for awhile.

There are a few tiny issues I have with this album; the first being the sub-par lyrics on Into the Everblack. i don't have a problem with lyrics that aren't deep, or well thought out, but in Trevor's case, I surely am. He has some of the most pristine lyrics ever written, and this song sounds like a completely different person wrote the chorus. Another flaw is that the vocals on Map of Scars just sound a little off. They are performed miraculously, make no mistake, but they are significantly lower in the mix compared to the other songs. It is more of a decorative flaw than a structured one, and what I mean by that is that it is a little detail that will affect the experience a little bit. Despite the shortcoming and distance in the vocals of this song, it is one of my favorites off of this album. These flaws are very minute, and shouldn't be dwelled upon by any means.

This album is one I would recommend for near anyone. New and old Black Dahlia Murder fans, melodic death metal fans, straight up death metal fans. black'n'roll fans, as well as anyone who enjoys awesome metal. The Black Dahlia's 6th album is most definitely a must have for anyone who likes this band, and in my opinion, by most everybody. Standout tracks are In Hell is Where She Waits for Me, Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn, Phantom Limb Masturbation, Control, Every Rope a Noose, and Map of Scars.

The Black Dahlia Murder into the perfection. - 100%

Matthijs, August 31st, 2014

The Black Dahlia Murder have come a long way since their debut Unhallowed. Unhallowed wasn't very good in my opinion, Miasma was an improvement but it was Nocturnal that convinced me TBDM are an awesome, solid and skilled band. Deflorate was a very good album as well, but it wasn't an improvement compared to Nocturnal. Ritual was however, but it wasn't until this latest effort, Everblack, where TBDM have perfected their sound.

This album is dark, melodic, technical and brutal. I like to call it 'brutal melodic death metal'. When I heard In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me and Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorns, I knew this album was going to be a masterpiece. This album is the album they worked so hard to get to, this is the pinnacle of their discography so far. And I can imagine that's not so easy when they've just recruited a new drummer and bassist.

Everblack starts off with one of my favourite songs on the album. In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me starts slowly until Trevor delivers one of his best shrieks ever. It's the perfect intro for the perfect album. The refrain is also very catchy and it features a nice solo. The song's theme is about the actual Black Dahlia Murder, so that's pretty cool too. Another standout song is Into The Everblack. It's very heavy and brutal, yet the guitarist is able to deliver a melodic lead that doesn't kill the mood of the song. It blends in perfectly, as it does in all of the songs, and it creates an eerie mood. Phantom Limb Masturbation is a bit like Into The Everblack, it only has a funnier title with sickening, yet still funny lyrics and an even better solo. This lead will take you into higher atmospheres, it's so beautiful and has again this eerie sound to it. Every Rope A Noose is also a highlight with a very cool intro and nice riffs during the whole song. The outro ends with a piano, preserving that ominous atmosphere that's been present the entire album.

Trevor Strnad is one of my favourite extreme metal singers and this album displays exactly why. He combines high pitched shrieks with guttural growls and the combination is perfect. He has really mastered his singing technique and that high-low combination keeps him from sounding monotonous. The lyrics are as always beautiful dark poetry with some dark humor in them as well. Ryan Knight has already featured on Ritual as the lead guitarist and I instantly felt he was a better guitarist than Kempainen. On Everblack he delivers an even better performance. As I said earlier, his solos match perfectly into the songs and they're technical as well as very beautiful with that sinister undertone to it. Alan Cassidy shows that he's the right man for the job as the new drummer of TBDM. In my opinion, I think he's better than Shannon Lucas. His drum skills are on a high level and blend in perfectly with the rest of the instruments. This guy is also very young, so he can still learn and gain some experience. I hope this line-up remains for as long as the band exists, it's a perfect one.

I've said it a hundred times, and I'm going to say it once more: this album is perfect. They have created this unique sound that really captures the brutality of death metal and blended it with melody, better than any melodic death metal band I've ever heard. If you love death and melodic death metal, you'll love this album. If you're a fan of TBDM, you'll probably think is their best effort so far. I wonder what's coming next, because topping this album will be the band's biggest challenge yet.

Standouts: every single song!

But certainly check: In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me, Into The Everblack, Phantom Limb Masturbation and Every Roope A Noose

Wow...just wow - 95%

MetalheadOmega, August 7th, 2013

This Michigan melodic death metal masterclass has, for all intents and purposes, released their second opus. Everblack, the follow-up to their 2009 epic Ritual, shows that even though The Black Dahlia Murder had created what many consider their best work, they can still create masterpieces of brutality. And I'm here to say one thing: even though I adore Ritual, and consider it one of my favorite melodeath releases, Everblack has shattered those views. This album is a bloody BEAST of technical and melodic proficiency.

Each member of the band has come back after their last album and come back hard with an album that could be a contender for Album of the Year for many people. Trevor Strnad's vocals are just as brutal as ever, from his deep gutteral growls to his black metal shrieks that are just as prominent here as on any of TBDM's previous works. Ryan Knight and Brian Eschbach come back, again, with furious riffing and technicality that's made TBDM so well loved by the metal community. Unfortunately, Shannon Lucas is no longer with the band, but Alan Cassidy, formerly of Abigail Williams, has stepped up and given us a pounding drum performance Shannon would be proud of. And we can't forget Max Lavelle, taking over for the also recently departed longtime member Ryan Williams. The bass on this album is heavy, pounding and gives a deep, dark atmosphere.

The first song that sticks out in my mind on this album is the opener, 'In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me', TBDM's first actual song about their namesake, Elizabeth Short, or the 'Black Dahlia'. This song is punishingly brutal in places. It starts out soft, rainfall accompanied by a melodic introduction. About a minute in we hear what is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful shriek Trevor has ever delivered. A wonderful opening to this melodic masterpiece. The lyrics on this song, and the album in general, are a throwback to the more brutal side of death metal, and are incredibly well worded and cohesive.

The next song that strikes me is 'Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn'. A themed song, about the Evil Dead film series. It starts off with a very fluid, melodic guitar intro followed by the crushing vocals we've all come to expect. Trevor's deep gutterals come here in full force, he just belts these lyrics out like a demon! Perhaps one of the most melodic tracks on this album.

The final song in this review is 'Phantom Limb Masturbation'. Wow. The title alone should draw people in, but once they hear Trevor's deep growls, they're hooked. The guitars follow a chug pattern during Trevor's deep parts, but flip to a more melodic technique during his shrieks, as if to emphasize each style individually, with a style that fits each. This song also has what could be the most gory, true death metal lyrics on the album, with themes of dismemberment and detailed bloody gore. Definitely a great listen.

Overall, this album hits me as a classic follow-up to a classic. A masterpiece of melodic death metal. If you read this are you're a fan of melodic death metal with twin guitarists with great technical prowess and a vocalist who can belt out gut-wrenchingly brutal lyrics, this is DEFINITELY an album for you. Buy this album, support this band. Hope that this is only the second in a series of melodic death classics.

A spectacular display of U.S. melodic death metal - 99%

BlackMetal213, July 11th, 2013

Another phenomenal album by the American melodic death metal out fit The Black Dahlia Murder! "Everblack" was on my list of most anticipated metal albums for the year, some of which have already came out, and some of which are still to come. 2013 so far has only disappointed me once with the new Megadeth record, but this album, however, definitely does not! If there is one thing about TBDM that must be appreciated, it's that they never fail to deliver quality death metal albums! And interestingly enough, they haven't changed their sound that much throughout their career. They are definitely a band that has stayed inside the comfort zone, but has made it work.

The guitar on this album is standard for TBDM: tons of tremolo, evil black metal-esque riffing, melodic Gothenburg death metal influence (which is minimum compared to the previous five albums, but it is still there in a healthy amount), and a very dark atmosphere. From right off the bat with the first song "In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me", we get the classic melodeath riffing with a fun load of brutality, and the solo in this song is to die for. Seriously, Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight make their focus a mix of melody and brutality, and it works very well. "Goat of Departure" continues down this path, showing that TBDM are not just your average At the Gates ripoff band that everyone tries to make them out to be. The solo in this song is beautiful, with a very heavy chugging riff in the background to accompany it. Now, slightly before the three minute mark to this song, it transforms itself into a black metal song, if not for only fifteen seconds or so. Black metal has been a key influence in TBDM’s music, first appearing in a larger dose on their 2007 album “Nocturnal”. This album rivals “Nocturnal” in black metal influence, however, because at times, it definitely sounds darker and more sinister. The production on this album is great, putting the guitars at the frontline, so we can experience them to the fullest extent. Sure, the bass is fairly inaudible, but it’s really hard to complain about that when the riffs are this good.

One thing that I have enjoyed on pretty much every album from this band is the vocals. They are more of the same on this album, but that's okay. Trevor Strnad is known for having a very high scream, which leads a lot of people to compare them to At the Gates. In this case, the comparison is somewhat fair. He is likely influenced by Tomas Lindberg's famed vocal performance on albums such as "Terminal Spirit Disease" and the forever adored melodic death metal masterpiece "Slaugter of the Soul". That is obvious. He does, however, most of the time, go directly from high screams to low, demonic guttural growls. This is a formula that Strnad has obviously become comfortable doing as it is a regular pattern in TBDM's music. Nothing new here, but still a stellar performance! And the lyrics...the lyrics as always are fucking dark. Just take a look at the lyrics to "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn". One can infer by the title that these lyrics are going to be pretty twisted, and they definitely are. It seems that they are using profanity more on this album than they've done before, but I don't generally pay attention to that aspect of their lyrics. The horror and suspense themes of the lyrics just add magic to the overall music.

If I had to make any complaints about the album, it would be that while the riffing is amazing, the Gothenburg influence is somewhat left behind in the dust, taking on a more modern Americanized melodic death metal sound. This is hardly a complaint this album will probably convince the naysayers out there that TBDM is not a mere At the Gates ripoff band. But I enjoyed hearing the Gothenburg influence, especially on their earlier albums.

This album absolutely rips and will satisfy hardcore fans of The Black Dahlia Murder. It was definitely worth the $11.99 I shelled out for it at FYE. Although it was on sale...I would have paid the full $14.99 for it. Truly a great modern melodic death metal masterpiece! Although "Nocturnal" remains my favourite TBDM album...for now, that is. Until they top that one. Whatever this band does next, I WILL check it out!

A New Approach - 75%

Slasher666, July 10th, 2013

So, what's there to say about TBDM's "Everblack?" Is it a typical album like the rest or is there something unique and new about it? I can truly say that this sounds nothing like their previous work, from albums like "Deflorate" to their previous instalment, "Ritual." In fact, the band, in terms of sound, has gone in a completely different direction. This new approach can be viewed in a 50-50 perspective. You're either going to love it or hate it. So yes, it's the same band we know and love but there are a few changes that can either be seen as a benefit or a curse.

What makes this album sound so different from the rest? First and foremost, the sound consists of heavy riffs mixed with deep vocals and crazy blast beats. The instruments sound as if though they were from a brutal death metal playing style instead of melodic death metal, a niche that the band has been quite comfortable in for a number of years and album releases. In short, the melody that the band once had has been completely killed off. Brutality is the main focus of this instalment, high vocals and melodic guitar riffs have been pushed away entirely. The band has decided to experiment a little, to go outside of their comfort zones and create something different. The question is: does this album make the cut? Is this new approach a perfect fit or was just a waste of effort?

Truth be told, I'm really in the middle with this change of playing style. While I really enjoyed their album "Deflorate" (being my favourite TBDM album) with songs like "Eyes of Thousand," "Death Panorama" and "Black Valour," it seems weird to hear a completely new side to the band. I guess you can say I'm not used to the sludgy and brutal sound this album provides. Does it fit the band? Maybe not. I'd prefer it if this album were more melodic but then again I can understand why the band chose to record the album this way. They didn't want to end up being a band like Slayer, where they have been playing the same sound for decades. In other words, they didn't want to be boring by playing the same thing over and over. They saw this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves a little bit and they took that chance. I admire them for putting the effort in to sound different and I'm sure many fans like this release. Me? This just isn't my cup of beef. While I can admire the instrumental skill as well as the vocal range, I couldn't help but feel somewhat disappointed. I wanted to hear the "Deflorate" Black Dahlia Murder. In other words, I wanted melody and lots of it. Instead I got brutal distortion and vocals.

This album is a hit or a miss. Either you like it or the opposite. I like the album in terms of creativity and how the band really wanted to do something new, points for effort there. I didn't like the album so much where there was a lack of melody from their previous work. It's way better than "Ritual," without a doubt. It's a step up to say the least. So, on a final note: listen to this album and see what you think. I got mixed feelings on this release but maybe your opinion may differ from mine. You might actually love this piece...or hate it. To put it lightly, don't rush out to buy this sucker, it's nothing special.

Continuing the evolve ever so slightly. - 85%

Subrick, June 12th, 2013

The Black Dahlia Murder are one of those bands you can always expect to release quality music with every release they put out. For the past decade they have been doing nothing but making albums, touring, and building upon their past records by injecting new ideas and influences into the mix without it overtaking their melodic death metal base. Having proved themselves as more than just another melodeath band with Nocturnal, the band have since put out Deflorate, an album that I really only liked two or three songs off of, Ritual, which to me is their best and hardest hitting album, and the subject of this review, Everblack. Despite my still preferring Ritual at the end of the day, Everblack shows that the band are still evolving, still shifting ever so slightly with each album, and, most importantly, still making great extreme metal.

A major change I noticed on first listen is that the Gothenburg-style riff work the band has based most of their songs around since their inception is in the least supply here of all their records. It's still there in songs such as "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn" and "Control", but this is easily the least Swedish sounding Black Dahlia album yet. The guitar work is still very melodic though, never reaching true death metal brutality throughout the album's 44 minute run time, although to be fair to the band that's not their intention at all. The band have never been about being the most brutal or craziest band in death metal; they've always put legible, interesting songwriting first and instrument gymnastics a far, far second, a trend that has thankfully continued on Everblack and, thankfully, does not seem like it'll be going away anytime soon. Building their songs around mostly traditional structures as they always have, there's also a very noticeable black metal undercurrent coursing throughout much of the record. This is most prominent in tracks like "Goat of Departure", "Every Rope a Noose", and "Into the Everblack", the latter of which features an excellent keyboard break in the middle of the song that builds up the proper anticipation needed for the song's guitar solo. One thing that I will say somewhat disappointed me is that the songs don't have the same edge that the ones on Ritual did. On that record, you had tunes like "A Shrine to Madness", "Carbonized in Cruciform", "Den of the Picquerist", and "On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood" that served as the perfect musical punch to the face that you want from death metal. The guitars being more melodic has caused a lot of that edge to be lost, and while the songs are still quite good, it does feel like a little bit of a letdown considering just how ruthless Ritual could be. The tracks mostly have their own identity and are distinguishable from one another, which is all the more good since many death metal albums tend to have numerous tracks that just run together no matter how many spins you give them.

On the performance side, each member, as expected, puts their all into it and doesn't disappoint. Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight hold down the fort on rhythm and lead guitars respectively, with Eschbach never missing a note throughout the whole record and Knight's lead work remaining a staple of the band's sound ever since he joined in 2008. The man knows how to properly balance showing off and reigning it in, something becoming all the less common in modern death metal. The bass work of Max Lavelle is fairly audible, if a little bit too underneath the guitars, although you're still able to tell that the former Despised Icon member is playing his socks off, even if he is mostly just following the guitars. The biggest misconception I've seen regarding the addition of new drummer Alan Cassidy is that his style of drumming on this album is significantly different from Shannon Lucas's. Those people must not have listened to the same album I did, as the drums, while differing in places such as fills and rolls, still very much sound like something Lucas would have written had he stayed in the band through this album's recording process. It probably helps that Lucas already wrote most of the album's drums before he left. Cassidy's feel is much different from Lucas's, but the style is still very much the same. Trevor Strnad's vocals still sound like a wheezing cat, but I don't mind them. He's obviously caring and not just going through the motions, plus his voice is incredibly unique and easily recognizable, so he gets a pass from me. I will also say that the album's production is, for the most part, fantastic. It has a very natural tone to it, the drums in particular sounding like actual drums and not samples pulled from an electronic kit's module. It's never too loud and everything is at the proper volume, save the bass which, as mentioned, could be turned up a little bit.

If Ritual didn't already do it, then Everblack should be the album where all of The Black Dahlia Murder's detractors realize that the band is not just some two-bit At the Gates rip off, as they have very much shed away that label ever since Nocturnal was released 6 years ago. They have their own identity and sound now, and I expect their future offerings to show them continuing to evolve and making slight adjustments to their music with each passing album. As mentioned many words ago, I still overall prefer Ritual to Everblack when all is said and done, but this in no way significantly diminishes the great music found on this album, and it is a must have for any extreme metal fan.