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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!