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The Black Dahlia Murder > Everblack > Reviews > Tanuki
The Black Dahlia Murder - Everblack

Everblack Don't Evercrack - 97%

Tanuki, November 22nd, 2022

The Black Dahlia Murder were releasing albums like clockwork - specifically like the haunted mechanisms of a cyclopean clocktower filled with Medusa heads. It's pretty extraordinary that a band this popular had the ability and inclination to release exciting new material every other year, in a day and age where Iron Maiden can only roll over and yawn out a new trail of drool every other century. Despite their work ethic, and despite their ever-expanding roster of superb albums, and despite reality itself, this band was still met with derision even in 2013, and likely always will. In my opinion, the treatment this band received will forever stand as metalkind's most egregious testament to obstinance and irrationality. You can hate on any band you please, but if your reasoning involves the words "hair" and "sense of humor", I'll ask you politely yet firmly to leave.

Blah blah, people suck, let's move on. I've got a lot to talk about here, starting with how Everblack is a Freudian nightmare, and everything is secretly a penis. I'm dead serious, this album contains Dahlia's most overtly eroticized musical statements, exploring sexuality at its most freakish and unnerving. Insert browser history joke here. Seriously though, how in the name of Satan's giant red knot do you even think of stuff like 'Phantom Limb Masturbation'? Other examples include 'Control', detailing Jeffrey Dahmer's attempts to turn his victims into sex dolls - putting Slayer's '213' to shame in the process - and their namesake track, 'In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me', which codifies the gruesome, unsolved murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short. Despite suffering from the same problem as Ritual, i.e. a bloated introduction and interlude, it feels a hell of a lot more purpose-driven than stuff like 'Conspiring with the Damned'. 'Map of Scars', though critically edgy in its self-mutilation fetishism, is one of my all-time favorites from this band, sounding proximal to Vehemence's Helping the World to See, not to mention a natural extension of Nocturnal luminary 'Deathmask Divine'.

Everblack is also unique from a songwriting perspective, as it's among the first to sound very un-influenced by the Gothenburg scene. Most notably, Cassidy's percussive polyrhythms are far more chaotic and analog, closer to something like Fleshcrawl or Morbid Angel. This is best showcased throughout the crushing, trenchant march of 'Their Beloved Absentee', sounding like if you played Eternal Solstice's The Wish is Father to the Thought while deep-sea diving in a Whirlpool. As in, the washing machine. That's another thing that fully separates this album from, say, Slaughter of the Soul - its production has a ridiculously fat ass. Even in the more squawky, melody-reliant tracks like 'Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn', the bottom end is so irresistably plush and inviting, unlike the weird chalky feel Ritual had. The title track especially utilizes a low, earthy chug and a gurgling bass tone more sickening than Mr Beast's moustache.

And how have I not mentioned 'Goat of Departure' until now? With a riff that's since been pinched by just about every other modern melodeath band on the planet, most obviously Alterbeast's 'Black Flame Illumination', this track is a ferocious neoclassical-tinged monster punctuated by a devilishly snazzy Friedman-style solo courtesy of Ryan Knight. And just get a load of its prose: "Misunderstood, our Lord, preserver of the horde, Footprint of Mendes enchants our angel-cleaving swords". Ya hear that? That's the sound of Doomguy soiling his camo undies. Oh, and 'Blood Mine' has an awesome riff. Says so right here in my notes. I couldn't fit it naturally in my review anywhere, so yeah.

This review series is dedicated to the memory of Trevor Strnad.