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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.