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Modern classic, massively influential - 100%

grimwinter13, April 20th, 2018

The Black Dahlia Murder, currently 17 years old as of this review, is truly one of the most important bands in modern day extreme metal. Hugely popular, undeniably talented, and appealing to a wide variety of metal fans, there's no arguing that they're one of the few bands who've lasted this long and never fell off the wagon even once. Eight albums, all of them so unique and having their own merits, their own personalities, and picking a favorite really comes down personal taste. A case could be made for every Black Dahlia album, and it's a tough choice...but in my honest opinion, Nocturnal easily takes the cake.

Black Dahlia's origins lay in metalcore and heaps of At the Gates influence, and to be fair it took them two albums to really craft a style which they could call their own. Nocturnal is where they find the Black Dahlia brand of melodeath we all know and love today. From the ghastly, catchy riffs to the ever-changing dynamics and intelligent sense of rhythm, this album is where the band figured out how these elements could be mixed together in a way that put them aside from other bands. It worked incredibly well, considering that now Nocturnal is hailed as a modern classic. But I won't spend an entire review ranting about 'cred' or legacy, let's talk about the music.

The opener, "Everything Went Black" is an immediate, burst-through-the-gate ripper of pivot riffing and consistent blast beats, presenting one of the speedier pieces right from the start. It's not the shortest track on the album, but the pacing and quickly transitioning song structure gives it a short-but-sweet feel. It's an incredible start, especially since it's so incongruent with the following track, "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse" - a song which to this day is still a fan-favorite and live set staple. "Horrible Night" catches the listener off-guard after the opener with its 3/4 grooves and chunky, palm-muted grooves. The opening riff is impossible to not headbang to because it's so heavy, but the song also manages to keep it interesting with a passionately melodic chorus.

This trend of contrasting dynamics repeats itself throughout Nocturnal's runtime, and it never become monotonous or uninteresting - something Black Dahlia seemed to struggle with on their previous two releases. The melodies also are much more interesting, as before they took after metalcore's attitude of using the same minor key every damn song. Rather here, Black Dahlia steps out of their comfort zone and tries out a wider range of scales, many much more complex and often utilizing modes and some hints of chromatic, technical weedling (the latter often present in the faster and heavier slices of songs). Brian Eschbach, who's hands-down one of my top 3 guitarists right now, improved his soloing ability immensely. "Everything Went Black" and "Deathmask Divine" say it all - they're much more interesting and memorable in nature.

Songwriting takes great prominence and becomes Nocturnal's strongest weapon. Most of the songs follow a straightforward two-chorus structure, emphasizing the verses with faster tempos and letting the choruses ring out loud and proud with chanted lyrics and catchy rhythm. Of course, there is some deviation such as in the very brief track "I Only Worship What You Bleed", which seems to come and go so quickly you don't get the chance to fully digest it, but in no way feels like a filler track. It's rather a quick punch to the gut to make sure you're on your toes before the anthemic title-track kicks in. Some of Black Dahlia's best riffs are featured here, the aforementioned "Deathmask Divine" 's speeddemon verses being my favorite. Pivot riffs are king on this album, and I can think of few other bands who utilize them nearly as efficiently or uniquely as Black Dahlia.

The album closes with "Warborn", a song which rightfully sums up everything heard in the nine previous tracks. It combines just about every other idea presented before into one solid piece of closure.

Trevor Strnad also improved on Nocturnal. His high screams, which were before very pained and kinda irritating with their squeakiness, are now absolutely wretched and raspy, almost black metal-esque in style due to the intensity and just how sinister they sound. He blends his signature screams very evenly with standard death growls. From this point on, you know immediately it's Trevor screaming because his vocals are so signature to him.

Nocturnal is hugely influential in modern day extreme metal. It'd be fair to say that the good majority of deathcore bands post-2007 listened to a lot of Black Dahlia. I mean, listen to anything by As Blood Runs Black, Carnifex, or Lorna Shore and you'll hear it. As one of the most popular bands out there today, it'd be hard to say Nocturnal wasn't the album that skyrocketed Black Dahlia.

So yeah. I really don't have any quirky, clever way to close this review. All I can is, if you live under a rock and haven't heard Nocturnal go listen to it right now. The music speaks for itself, and there's something in there for all brands of extreme metal fans. Incredibly important album.

Best Tracks: "Deathmask Divine", "Everything Went Black", "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse"

Misunderstood - 97%

EzraBlumenfeld, January 26th, 2018

For all the hard work The Black Dahlia Murder put into their groundbreaking Nocturnal, they sure only get a fraction of the respect they deserve from the metal community. A large part of this is due to the fact that the band emerged around the same time as much of the deathcore scene, so they are often lumped in with the likes of Whitechapel and Suicide Silence. However, they greatly prove themselves as mainstays of modern melodic death metal on this, their third album, although many of the snobby "old-school fans" that are actually 24 years old former scene kids have overlooked it.

Now I understand why someone might mistake this for deathcore if they weren't listening carefully; there are plenty of blast beats and deep growls. On the other hand, the blasts are less archetypical and actually somewhat creative, if such a thing can exist in the world of blast beats, because they are very intricate and involve complex layered polyrhythms and other intense musical ideas. As for the vocals, mastermind Trevor Strnad has said he was mostly inspired by the back-and-forth high-versus-low style of Jeff Walker and Bill Steer in the early days of Carcass. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the similarities, although less so on this album than on the ones that followed it. I've also read several reviews comparing Strnad's high screams to Dani Filth, whom they like to portray as the epitome of metal-gone-wrong. But from my perspective, on this album he sounds nearly identical to screaming protégé Chuck Schuldiner in the later days of Death. As for the guitars, they are heavy and whatnot, but more importantly the riffs are creative in a way that is not often heard from newer bands: they beautifully mix melody with technicality.

Every song on Nocturnal is an ear-splitting, heart-pounding work of art. From the classically melodic "What A Horrible Night to Have A Curse" to the unmatched brutality of "Deathmask Divine," this album is like a gallery of all the best things present in death metal. Each riff is infectiously catchy, no matter how sophisticated it is. The rhythmic aspect of the vocals is also very cool, and will very easily get stuck in your head.

Nocturnal is by far the best album The Black Dahlia Murder have ever released, and I have serious doubts that they will ever make another of such premium quality. This album is the perfect introduction to the band, especially for high-and-mighty elitists who think that they're either wanna-be Gothenburg melodeath or deathcore or just straight-up "posers." Records of such a high caliber of creativity and musicianship are rare in the world of metal these days, and it's important to hold on to the few keepers that pop up here and there. Of the albums that have been released since the decline of death metal, this is among the very best.

Nocturnal majesty... Oh yes, thou art! - 100%

BlackMetal213, August 21st, 2017

After seeing The Black Dahlia Murder headline this year's Summer Slaughter Tour, I simply felt indebted to review my favorite album which they played live in its entirety this during their live set for its ten year anniversary. "Nocturnal" was the first album I heard from TBDM and it immediately made me indulge in listening to the rest of their discography at the time, which spanned from "Unhallowed" to "Deflorate". They only had four albums at the time and now are going on eight! It's crazy how time flies. Granted I've only really been into this band for about eight years, they were one of those bands to really peak my interest in extreme metal.

TBDM has historically been referred to as an At the Gates "rip-off" band due to their obviously ATG influenced melodic death metal style. While there have always been similarities, perhaps with their first two albums "Unhallowed" and "Miasma" being the most derivate of this style, they really don't come across as an ATG worship band to my ears. They have always had an unmistakable sound that mixes wonderfully tasteful melodic elements with a very dark style of death metal. There is a certain atmosphere that I really haven't heard other bands emulate. Anyway, before I digress more than I already have, I will now delve into the album's musical competence and the captivating melodic extremity that is TBDM.

The production is one of the best I have ever heard in a melodic death metal album. It's crystal clear, meaning all of the instruments are audible and you can hear everything going on, minus the bass most of the time. But that doesn't mean it's not there. We can hear it playing alongside the guitar riffs but it just chooses not to deviate from the riff patterns, and that's fine. At least this thing doesn't sound flat due to a lack of bass. The guitars are the focal point of this album, such has always been the case. These songs follow the same formulaic structures of aggressive riffing, basically mixing a few elements of thrash metal with a large injection of very catchy melodies, and some black metal tremolos and dark death metal moments. Songs like the title track definitely work this formula and there are moments where it almost sounds like blackened death metal. "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", taken from the band's early demo of the same name in title, begins with a fairly interesting programmed-sounding riff that explodes into a furious, ferocious beast of death. This album also saw a huge increase in guitar solos, as "Unhallowed" only featured maybe two or three, and "Miasma" still didn't have enough. Every song seems to have some sort of melodic solo that works alongside gorgeous riffs. This is almost what I like to call a "beauty within chaos" characteristic. I believe the songs featuring the best solos would have to be a three way tie between the title track, "Everything Went Black", and "Deathmask Divine".

As many know, this was the first of three albums to feature Shannon Lucas, formerly of All That Remains, on drums. He was the dude that played drums on "The Fall of Ideals". Yep, he was the guy that did the double bass on "This Calling" that everyone was freaking out over though I personally always thought was highly overrated. Here, however, he redeems himself. His drumming on this album follows similar patterns of extremely fast blast beats, thrashy drum lines, and a decent amount of double bass. Oh, there's a lot of this here, too. But it sounds so much better. The black metal influence really sneaks in through the drums along with the tremolo guitar riffs. Sure, Shannon did a decent job with All That Remains but I never really understood the hype of his work until I got into this band and heard his work here. It's amazing and each of the three albums he was featured on (the other two being "Deflorate" and "Ritual") never fail to amaze me in the percussion category.

So, vocally, Trevor Strnad is an absolute beast here. I think this album boasts his best vocal performance maybe being only slightly better than "Everblack". But really, he's never been a less than amazing vocalist. His style of vocals moves between high-pitched screams and low guttural growls seemingly effortlessly and after finally seeing him perform live, I can attest that he sounds EXACTLY the same live as he does within studio recordings. It's flawless, really. And amazing. The black metal influence, like the tremolos and blast beats, also sneaks in with these higher pitched screaming vocals and it adds another cool dynamic to the music that melodic death metal bands have been doing for awhile. Yes, this is a similar thing to what At The Gates did, but I've always thought Trevor to be a better vocalist than Tomas Lindberg. Sue me, but I like what I like.

35 minutes. This album is 35 minutes in length but every time I listen to it, it feels like it's shorter. It's that enjoyable and I've seen countless people besides myself refer to "Nocturnal" as the band's best album. This is a very easy statement to justify. I don't think that TBDM will be able to top this record simply because of its level of greatness. "Deflorate" is still amazing, "Ritual" perhaps remains on the level of "Deflorate", "Everback" came close to being as amazing as this record, and "Abysmal" was a solid album as well, but "Nocturnal" is just something else that will likely always remain the gold standard of modern U.S. melodic death metal. I am looking forward to hearing what the band has to offer on "Nightbringers" because after hearing that title track live, my curiosity has been highly aroused.

Ageless classic. - 100%

Palecompanion2001, April 5th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Metal Blade Records

As the ten year anniversary comes up for this album, I decided to give it another listen. Upon hearing this album, I suddenly was reminded why The Black Dahlia Murder is my favorite band. Being myself I tend to find a favorite band and steer away from them for a while and then suddenly come back to the band for nostalgia reasons. This album is a huge part of my life and now I remember why, it is honestly an example of some of the best songwriting in death metal history. This album ages greatly and I still think it is as great as it was ten years ago when it first got released. While this band has never (in my opinion) released a bad album, this record really stands out in the eyes of most. For a damn good reason as well.

This album is one of the best if not the best U.S. melodic death metal releases of all time. It is flawless, everything I hear when I listen to this album is perfection. The overall structure of the songs on this record is really impressive. It doesn't seem like anything is out of place or is just awkwardly placed. It all fits together perfectly. I find this album to be a lot more mature than their past two releases, which are great none the less. I just think all members of the band really grew and learned a lot in the short time when writing this album. The sense of how much all of the members really grew since they started really makes this album much more enjoyable.

The album itself has a handful of hit songs, but as a whole I don't see this album having a single filler or a forgettable song. It really seemed like this band was trying to write an album that was going to be full of hit songs. They really gave it their A-game when writing this album. How everything really flows so well together is extremely satisfying. It is in no way predictable, there are a lot of surprising little breaks and riff changes throughout the songs. The drums never get boring or repetitive, there is always something going on differently on the drums while this album plays through. I don't find anything about this album to be repetitive, it always has your attention 24/7. I don't look at this album like it is something someone can put on as background music. It is honestly too attention grabbing to be just background music.

While listening to this album you notice the immense number of guitar solos and for a good reason. They are all placed and played so well. The way it just is laid out on the tracks feels very natural and right. The guitar solos are a huge part of this album I think, they are all extremely attention grabbing and can leave you very impressed while listening to them. Overall this band has so much talent when playing their instruments it is extremely impressive.

I really find the drums to be a very prominent feature on this album. They are never too simple or boring. When listening to death metal I really tend to get tired of the overwhelming blast beats played all the time. This album really puts blast beats where they need to be and can pull it off greatly. The drums never really play the same beat over and over again, they always are moving around and keeping it seem very refreshing and flowing really well. Shannon Lucas was an absolute genius when tracking drums for this album.

The vocals are an important part in this album. Trevor Strnad really flows so great with this instruments I find it to be very beautiful. The high screams have improved greatly since their debut, it seems to be more polished and clean. While 'Unhallowed' has a lot grittier high screams, the ones on 'Nocturnal' stand out to me way more. Not to mention the lyrics, honestly I find the way Trevor writes on this album to be a work of art. His lyrics are so extremely creative and flow so well. I can say he is easily one of the best lyricists in the death metal genre. As well as one of the best vocalists and very influential.

This album is an easy 100%, not only is it flawless but I think it remains to be one of the best death metal albums written. It really shows a lot of maturity when listening and it keeps you're interest throughout the album. This record has influenced so many bands and albums on its own and for a very obvious reasons. It remains a staple in their discography and all of metal. I definitely recommend this album for younger fans trying to get into death metal. It is an amazing gateway for all fans of this genre and extreme metal in general.

Leaner, Meaner and More Mature - 87%

lonerider, June 14th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Metal Blade Records

Before we look more closely at the actual music on “Nocturnal”, one general observation needs to be made: it’s really astounding how far The Black Dahlia Murder came along in the roughly four years between their album debut “Unhallowed” and this, their third and, in the eyes of many, best album. Back when their debut came out, The Black Dahlia Murder were frowned upon by many in the metal community – dismissed as pretenders embellishing their insipid riffs with clichéd Gothenburg melodies, mocked as a bunch of spoiled college kids merely posing as metalheads. The words metalcore or even (gasp!) mallcore were tossed around a lot, and while the latter is now hardly used any more, back in the day it was the ultimate term of derision and disdain for faux metallers everywhere. Fast-forward to the present day and it’s hard to understand how The Black Dahlia Murder ended up with such questionable renown in the first place, when even their debut, in spite of some minor flaws, was a very promising start for a talented yet still somewhat naive band. Rejected by some as formulaic by-the-numbers metalcore, what it actually represented was a fresh and interesting approach to blending black with Gothenburg-inspired melodic death metal. The well-earned respect these guys have since gained in the metal community, as well as the prolonged and successful career they have put together, seems to lend credibility to the latter assessment.

That being said, it’s still remarkable how much and how quickly the band matured in the years leading up to “Nocturnal”, for as talented as they were from the outset, they certainly exhibited their share of flaws as both songwriters and musicians. Suffice it to say that hardly any of those flaws remain on “Nocturnal”. This time around, the musicianship is top-notch, even splendid occasionally, as best evidenced by the inclusion of lots of nifty guitar solos, an ingredient that was largely missing on the band’s earlier output. Yes, the guys have learned to play solos, a very welcome feature that was almost completely absent on “Unhallowed”, and these solos go a long way toward making “Nocturnal” more diverse and the songs more memorable.

Other than the technically improved musicianship, it really is the songwriting which made the biggest leap as compared to the band’s very early days. “Nocturnal” is by no means a complicated album, putting the emphasis on concise songs mostly played at breakneck speed. Clocking in at well under 40 minutes, there’s no time for atmospheric intros, complex song structures and extensive instrumental passages. What we have here is straightforward, brutal, speedy death metal laced with plenty of melody and harmony guitars, which are not unlike those introduced by some influential Swedish forerunners; as is so often the case in this metallic subgenre, the mighty Dissection immediately come to mind. The album wastes no time outlining what the listener is in for, as the opening “Everything Went Black” comes ripping right out of the gate with massive guitar riffs. One of the most outstanding qualities of this record, one already made evident by the opener as well as the following “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse”, is the band’s uncanny ability to change tempos seamlessly and effortlessly, repeatedly switching from hyper-fast and technically precise blast beats to thrashier, more orthodox rhythms and back again. “Virally Yours” sports some of the swiftest, most hypnotic tremolo picking on the album, but it’s the instantly catchy title track with its wickedly anthemic, incantatory chorus (“nocturnal majesty, sworn to black we’ll always be”) that takes the cake as the best song, condensing all the fine qualities of “Nocturnal” into one compact three-minute monster of a track. However, things don’t exactly slow down afterwards, including the two-and-a-half minute outburst of violent fury named “Climactic Degradation”. Then, finally, the closing track “Warborn” offers a welcome, although brief, respite from the unrelenting onslaught before itself erupting into a pummeling blastfest of a chorus. “Warborn” may be the most melodic song on display, but that doesn’t mean it lacks for brutality and viciousness.

So, “Nocturnal” obviously isn’t about introspection and progressive meandering; it’s about creating a blistering aural assault focused on aggression and ripping your face off. Nevertheless it succeeds at establishing and maintaining an almost darkly romantic and, yes, nocturnal atmosphere. That’s because the songs (short though they may be), the instruments and tremolo-picked melodies are given room to breathe. Back on “Unhallowed”, it felt like vocalist Trevor Strnad, whose seamless switching between guttural death and hoarse black metal vocals is one of the band’s enduring trademarks, was just ceaselessly singing over almost every note, every riff, every drumbeat. Maybe it was a matter of youthful exuberance. Maybe he somehow felt his lyrics were so good that he couldn’t bring himself to edit and shorten them. At any rate, it ended up taking away from the actual music. Luckily, this is a mistake that’s not repeated on “Nocturnal”. It seems like sometimes, all it takes to improve is for a guy to simply learn when to sing and when to shut up.

Choicest cuts:
Being as short as it is, “Nocturnal” is clearly meant to be listened to as a whole, not as a collection of individual songs. Think of it as a half-hour long ode to the night in ten parts, each of which is like an integral component of a larger opus, much like the pieces forming a classical symphony. Still, the centerpiece of this symphony is right in the middle, with the majestic title track and the ensuing “Deathmask Divine” (apparently inspired by the bone-chilling story of the infamous necrophile Carl von Cosel) sending a message that cannot be ignored: The Black Dahlia Murder have grown up into a mighty metallic force to be reckoned with.

What a horrible night to have a broken CD player! - 90%

BillNightspawnDorfer, July 7th, 2013

The Black Dahlia Murder is the sort of band that has more than meets the eye. At first listen, all the songs might slur together and seem interchangeable, but upon repeated listening and careful observing, your appreciation for the band steadily grows as you comprehend their melody, complexity, and atmosphere. "Nocturnal" is the perfect example of this.

Combining the spider web technicality of European melodic death metal with bludgeoning, dark, and grim Florida death metal style melded into one, this entire album is a sonic assault of blistering, fret-burning guitar work, relentless breakneck drumming, and unholy demonic vocals. The band is a nice balance of brutality, technicality, and melody, all blended into one spooky, horror-themed vibe. That being said, there's something else I personally appreciate very much about the band: the lyrics are very intriguing and intelligent. Fans of horror films, comics, or stories will find great fascination in such songs as "To a Breathless Oblivion" or "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse".

Overall, this is a great album by a great band and shows them progressing into a sound they're determined to bring unto the world. In my opinion, they are so far doing a fantastic job and I hold this album in high regard. If you like speed, brutality, melody, horror, and atmosphere, I highly recommend this album. Cheers!!!

Comes the Nocturne - 98%

Jalix the Cruel, February 28th, 2013

This album is heralded by many as the magnum opus of US melodic death metal, this effort by The Black Dahlia Murder....and for good reason.

Many will notice the continuing Gothenburg sound, but as some will point out as well that this album has a unique blend of some black metal sound being tossed into the mix as an interesting spice. This can likely be heard on a track such as "To a Breathless Oblivion"..

This album is filled with heavy melodies from the dual guitars. They harmonize together extremely well and it's very hard not to like it. Trevor Strnad continues his effective blend of high screams and guttural grunts that make this band such a pleasure to listen to. His lyrics, though, are extremely good and the twisted poetry used within is highly effective, conjuring nightmarish imagery that you will love to visualize (or not) as the songs go on.

The highlights of this album are notably "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", "Deathmask Divine", and "To a Breathless Oblivion" (which is my favourite of the album). These songs capture the essence of this band in an extremely good way, with poetic vitriol, relentless drums and guitars, and amazing work all around. The bass we can't hear, but in the metal scene this is becoming something commonplace, so that's not as big of an issue. I'm fairly certain it is somewhere. The drums - yes, Shannon Lucas is the drummer on this album (formerly of All that Remains) and he does not disappoint either, and those of you who are fans of him should by now know exactly why.

If I wanted to sum up the best moment of the album, it would be the chorus of "To a Breathless Oblivion". Just fuckin' read these lyrics and put it on:

"Beyond those cursed stars above, lies the answer that I seek
On the backs of bullets rides my name, longing to kiss my cheek
Resentfully decline, retire this hated life
Without guilt I break these veins, carved with salvation's knife"

That's all. Buy this album. You will not be disappointed with it. Do it now. Enjoy yourself for a night of nocturnal blight.

Butt Muncher's Singalong Songs - 81%

BastardHead, March 24th, 2012

Now, I'm well aware that it seems to be the unspoken law when talking about The Black Dahlia Murder to use the word "metalcore" at some point. Whether you're accusing them of scene kid faggotry (as it is so often referred to) or striking down the closed minded elitists (as the other side so often likes to retort), that dirty word always seems to bring itself up. And ever since hearing the band, I thought the metalcore connection was a myth. I used to refer to the band as such when I was a 15/16 year old Borisite thrash kid who was drawing conclusions based off the logo and artwork that adorned band shirts and the fact that I could feasibly have sex with most fans' earlobes. Upon actually giving them a listen, I realized this is straight up melodic death metal, At the Gates worship. I asserted for years afterwards that nobody actually called them metalcore or deathcore, because that's tantamount to calling Metallica a country group or Gargoyle a theatre company. Yet in my research before writing this review, I found those dirty, dirty -core words being thrown around like confetti at a damn parade. So let me shake off my utter confusion and just get it out of the way before carrying on with the review, ignoring it forever. There is absolutely nothing resembling hardcore or metalcore or deathcore or lobstercore or whatever within the music of Nocturnal, nor any other Black Dahlia release.

There, now that I'm sure that opening paragraph scared away most casual readers, allow me to asses the merits of said album. To date, this is the third full length release out of five, and the band has so far stuck to their pattern of "good album - meh album" flip flopping. As such, Nocturnal being an odd numbered release, this is one of their good ones. One thing I've noticed about this in relation to their other works is that this is by far the catchiest album they've done. The choruses of "Everything Went Black", "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", and "Climactic Degradation" rank among some of the easiest to sing along with within the realm of modern melodeath. The only problem with this, and the main flaw with the album, is that Trevor Strnad's vocals are goddamn terrible, so singing along can be grating. His lows are good, they're fairly generic but they carry a beastly quality. His highs on the other hand just sound like a cat. It's a cliche way to describe poor high screeches, but fuck I seriously can't think of a better descriptor. It's a nasty, grating, nasally rasp that sounds like a parody, and it's so far removed from his deep roars that it baffles me to think that one man not only does both of these, but consciously decided to make the terrible sounding style the predominant one. I get that one vocalist doing two drastically different styles isn't anything new, Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth and Christian Alvestam (formerly) of Scar Symmetry are two well known examples, but the difference is that those two can do both styles well. It's for this reason that "I Worship Only What You Bleed" and "Of Darkness Spawned" are two of the best songs, as he sticks with the lower register for most of those songs.

Musically there is one aspect of this album that really stands out to me, and I'm still not sure if it's for a good reason, and that is the soloing and leadwork. On one hand, well... it does stand out. It's highly melodic, with every note carefully chosen and executed flawlessly, each a part of some complex scale mode nonsense that I know absolutely nothing about. Kerry King had zero influence on the lead guitars, for sure. On the other hand, it really only fits about half the time (the solo in "Climactic Degradation" sounds like it was copy and pasted in from a different song), and all I can think about is fucking Necrophagist and Arsis while the shredding is going on. Maybe I'm a dunce, but this style of completely over the top and in your face neoclassical shredwankery over death metal was practically exclusive to Necrophagist up until about 2005, so hearing this in a Black Dahlia album is really goddamn distracting. TBDM has always had very good leadwork, but this is just a bit much. Soloing aside, the rest of the guitarwork is solid and varied melodeath riffing. There are a few good tremolo picking sections in the title track and "Warborn" and such, and that very overused style that I suck at describing used during the verses of "I Worship Only What You Bleed". The best way to describe it is "good but unoriginal". There's nothing groundbreaking here, you've heard all of this before, but it just sounds damn awesome here within the context of everything you're given.

And that's really the best way to sum up the entire album, it's a bunch of stuff you've already heard several dozens of times throughout your metal listening career, but it's played well and with enough energy that it remains fun while it's on. It helps that the album is relatively short, clocking in at under 35 minutes, and keeps a surprisingly healthy variety on hand. There are straight rippers like "Climactic Degradation" and "I Worship Only What You Bleed", more melodic tracks like "Nocturnal" and "To a Breathless Oblivion", and of course the obligatory slower, more grandiose closing track in "Warborn". This band has a habit of attracting a lot of vocal detractors, but really there's nothing here worth getting offended over barring maybe Strnad's offensively bad high screams.


Originally written for http://lairofthebastard.blogspot.com/

They're rapidly getting better! - 90%

DomDomMCMG, March 17th, 2012

After two solid albums in Unhallowed and Miasma and enjoying mainstream success due to playing Ozzfest and touring with other big name extreme metal bands such as Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder brought us their third full-length, Nocturnal. Continuing in the same fashion (if it ain't broke...) they've upped the technicality and catchiness on this one.

After the departure of drummer Zach Gibson, the band recruited Shannon Lucas of All That Remains fame. Now Shannon Lucas's performance and ATR's The Fall of Ideals was superb, so it's only natural he sounds superb on this record. Playing super fast blast beats and frantically attacking the double bass, he only adds to the punishing sound of Nocturnal. Now from that you might think this band are just a talented drummer and 4 other guys, but that is not the case. Every single member of TBDM is showing what they can do here.

The riffs are still in the vein of the Gothenburg melodeath style, with some Floridian influences shining through. Lots of tremolos and dual guitar harmonies. The band have also began using solos far more than on previous efforts. The solos themselves tend to be short but sweet, and oh so catchy. They really set the atmosphere along with Trevor Strnad's horror influenced themes.

Oh yes, Trevor Strnad. One of my favourite vocalists. Sounding as great as ever, still keeping at his diverse mix of high pitched screeching and guttural grunts.

The production is far more professional here than on earlier works. Everything is so fucking clear, and while the more kvlt amongst you will relentlessly bash the clear production for being untrve, it doesn't change the fact that the production only helps this album be brilliant. The guitar tone is very thick and chunky, the drums are very clear and makes it easier to hear Lucas's varying patterns, and doesn't allow anything to be drowned out by another element of the music.

If you're looking for a place to start with this band, then I think this is your best bet. Definitely a brilliant album well worth 34 minutes of your life.

Highlights: What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, Everything Went Black, Deathmask Divine, Nocturnal, Climactic Degradation

P.S. they're still not deathcore

Pales in comparison to what it tries to emulate. - 55%

dnelson, December 22nd, 2008

Ah, the Black Dahlia Murder. I couldn’t help but take a shot at listening to and reviewing “Nocturnal”, which has proved to be successful in convincing a sizable portion of past sceptics that Black Dahlia Murder is a legitimate metal band and not simply another awful “core” write-off. This particular release has succeeded in improving BDM’s stature in the culture all around actually; not only have fallaciously self-proclaimed “true” fans grown eager to acknowledge BDM as death metal (or something close to it), but the shit-gobbling kiddies in the Myspace scene have eaten it up all the same, naively believing this more-metal-than-usual core band has granted them some sort of subjective legitimacy within the ostracizing “true” community. Obviously that paradox pisses me right off, but after all the acclaim this album has seemed to accumulate on both sides, I couldn’t help but doubt my instincts and feel an incessant need to give it a fair and balanced listen.

The first thing that jumps out at you is the vocal technique. The vocalist’s high pitched style is pretty unique, but it’s fucking bad. I’m not going to fall back on petty Dani Filth generalizations; BDM’s high pitched vocals are somewhat like a Hypnosia-style (Or The Scourger if you desire) modern thrash growl but without any of the bottom end, giving it a dickless scratchy sound that is easy to mislabel as Cradle of Shit. These wretched vocals claw at your ears throughout the entire album and cleverly convey a false sense of amateurism commonly attributable to death metal, but these vocals are not death, thrash, black or even core; they’re just shitty and annoying. The lower vocals are pretty decent, they’re nothing spectacular but nothing to criticize. They don’t really rely on the typical OM NOM pitch-shifted, exaggerated cookie-monster technique that pervades the metalcore scene, and I’d really take no hesitation in calling them legit. It’s just too bad they’re completely downplayed and function only as abbreviated counterpoints to those horrible higher pitched vocals. This evaluation of the vocals is really foreshadowing of this entire album: Mixed fucking bag.

The drumming is really not that bad, the dude has some chops and is prone to showing them off a little too much, often firing off unnecessary double kick rolls in triplet sixteenths that give the overlaying guitar riffs a detrimental lethargic quality. Generally though, he sticks to proven beats, and while I think playing slower would really benefit the riffs he’s playing under, he does a decent enough job. The real issue with the percussion on this album comes from the production. Obviously I wasn’t in the studio with these guys, but the bass drum sounds horrible and triggered. The rest of the kit is better, but the bass drum carries that try-hard snappy tone so typical of shit metalcore bands and it really hurts the authenticity I think the band (or maybe half the band) was trying to achieve.

Behind the frills of the vocals and drums lies the real issue with this band.; the riffs, the guitars, the music itself. After listening to the album a few times and even going to the length of examining a few tablatures of songs from the CD, I am rather struck by the sheer musical inconsistency that really permeates BDM’s guitar work. To get the worst-smelling shit off the table straight away, the solos generally suck and reek of pretension. Sure they match up with the beats, sure the guy uses a scale, but that’s all he fucking does! I’m not even convinced he’s playing in scales that agree with the notes of his underlying rhythm half the time, take away the pedals and it sounds pretty lame. Take the first damn solo on the album in “Everything Went Black”; after some satisfying trills and tremolo, he dives into a mercifully short scale run, more tremolo, some lame eighth notes for filler, and then a pretty decent melodic section that overlaps through a few bars only to end the solo in a pitiful triplet eight running of the scale. That was neither fast, appropriately melodic, or describable as anything but an unenthusiastic scale run. The solo in “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” starts out promising but quickly descends into a laughable attempt at a melodically conscious solo. Spare me.

Now the riffs are all over the place, you have lukewarm thrash, lukewarm melo-thrash and lukewarm tremolo melodies. If you couldn’t grasp what I tried to communicate there; “Nocturnal” tries to play and synergize a few different styles, but it generally fails at doing any of them correctly. What really pisses me off is the album’s pervasive stench of dishonest posturing and it isn’t any more apparent than when the guitars feel the need to randomly harmonize or end riffs with a painfully predictable harmonized descent. This is old news, ceaselessly demonstrating your detestably elementary understanding of music theory does nothing but marginalize your image in the presence of people who actually know what is going on. The riffs themselves are just boring, they have the common sense to stay away from harmonic minor but they are almost all forgettable save for a few memorable parts on “Everything Went Black” and “Nocturnal”.

“To a Breathless Oblivion” takes a shot at some Dissection worship (as does the title track) but ends it with a forty five second acoustic outro, leaving me with a raised eyebrow muttering “Wow, did you really think that was going to impress anyone?” Crypt of Kerberos mastered this fifteen years ago, and every band since then has hammered it into the ground, turning it into another worthless vice for shit bands to fall back on. I suppose though, that this is really where the contrast in perception lies. For someone who has gone through the motions, “Nocturnal” is nothing but a failed synergy of lacklustre extreme metal stereotypes; sure it demonstrates a basic knowledge of the genre, maybe some Cannibal Corpse or At The Gates or Dissection, but that’s where it ends and it fails even at copying the aforementioned bands. I seriously doubt the expertise of any reviewer who simultaneously bestows this with a high mark and advertises themselves as someone with a deep understanding of true metal. This is a combination of two or three subgenres diluted with pretentious inarticulacy and shat out the rear end of modern-day Metal Blade. To someone who has no idea what they’re listening to, I suppose it might present the illusion of a solid metal album, but come on! Any serious listener knows how much this pales in comparison to what it tries to emulate.

I really have to mention though, the coolest part about this album is the title of the second song. “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” is a quote from Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest for the NES. Whenever you’re questing about in that game, those are the words that appear on the screen when day turns into night, making the game’s monsters a shitload more challenging and numerous. I though that was neat, but too bad the song doesn’t sound more like “Castlevania” and too bad the solo sucks. The lyrics though (both for this song and throughout the album), are pretty passable and nostalgic.

Perhaps I’m being too one-sided, I can still award points for “trying”, and it sounds like these guys did try. This is both the bright point and the ultimate failure of the album: It’s “trying”. Look at the damn cover art! If that doesn’t scream “WE WANT TO BE METAL” then I’m not sure what does. I give the band members a personal thumbs up for trying their best to move into death metal. We were all naïve little douchebags at one point in our metal careers, rocking out to Slaughter of the Soul and worshipping late-period Death; so while it’s easy for me to dismiss this album as shit, I find it cruel not to acknowledge the effort that went into it. Perhaps this is a starting point for the band, and perhaps their next album will garner twenty more points from me; I’ll give it a listen regardless. Do YOU need to listen to this album though? I think it’s a decent introduction album, a bridge from metalcore to metal, but then again why wouldn’t I just give you “Symbolic” or some other seminal “introductory” album?

The Black Dahlia Murder has never been better! - 95%

deatmetaljunkie, October 25th, 2008

The Black Dahlia Murder has enjoyed steadily increasing popularity and a reputation as on of the rising stars of American melodic death metal. Their two previous full lengths, Unhallowed and Miasma, combined the all too familiar Gothenburg riffs with aggressive drumming and the charismatic vocals of Trevot Strnad. While these albums drew mixed reviews from many people, I thoroughly enjoyed both, but preferred Miasma more. The band’s well written and performed material, along with their electrifying live show have helped distance themselves from an oversaturated scene. Then along came Nocturnal, their third album and my favorite so far. I’ll say it now, The Black Dahlia Murder have never sounded better.

During the recording of Nocturnal the band members described Nocturnal as their trademark style with a darker, more European feel this time around. Some members mentioned that the tracks had some parts reminiscent of Swedish legends Dissection, and they were dead on. The influence of the late John Nödtveidt and company can be felt throughout the album. Necrolord, who also created covers for Dissection, Emperor, Sacramentum, Antestor, and many more bands, did the cover art. While Nocturnal is not a timeless classic like some works of the aforementioned bands, it is a damn good album that deserves attention and one of my favorite albums of 2007.

Going along with the artwork and sound of the album, Trevor’s lyrics have returned to his dark, horror filled fantasies. Some topics include black magic, vampires, apocalypse, and of course, necrophilia. Quite a change from Miasma’s lyrical content and cover art (which is a nighttime picture of Las Vegas).

The first thing that grams my attention besides the cover art is the production. Nocturnal simply sounds huge and powerful. The guitar sound is thick but very sharp, allowing everything from solos to palm muted chords to be heard clearly. The drums are also mixed very well, taking on a more natural and slightly less trigged sound. This is the best sound that a Black Dahlia Murder album has had so far.

Another thing that jumped out at me was new drummer Shannon Lucas’ outstanding performance. I liked his performance on his previous band All That Remains’ Fall of Ideals album. I also knew that he would have super sized shoes to fill considering his predecessor was a monster known as Zach Gibson. Shannon fit his shoes perfectly and is a plays a huge part in TBDM’s forceful sound. All of his skills are on display here; he can blast beat and slam the double bass pedals like there’s no tomorrow, but restrains himself from overpowering the rest of the band. His fills and cymbal work are tasteful and he avoids reverting to similar sounding parts throughout the album.

The guitar work of Brian Eschbach and Jon Kempainen continue to be another strength of the band’s attack. On Nocturnal, they have pushed their aggressive yet melodic and structured style even further. Their compositional skills have greatly matured since Unhallowed as well as their technical proficiency. The more European influenced sound shows up in their guitar riffs and how they arranged the songs, with Dissection being the most obvious influence on Nocturnal. The guitar solos have improved on this album, offering a little bit of everything while maintaining the somber and horror themes of the album.

The first song that was released from Nocturnal is entitled “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse”. This track a good representation in what the new sound is like. The track opens like a more traditional BDM song, but the Dissection influence pops up in the excellent chorus. Trevor uses his high voice for most of the song, introducing his lows after the guitar solo.

The title track is my personal favorite of the album. The dark tremolo picked melody line over blasting drums during the verses clearly illustrates the Dissection sounding feel of the album. Trevor utilizes both voices to great effect here, equally employing highs and lows on the verses while doing the Glen Benton style multi-tracking on the chorus. The band lets up on the speed momentarily to reveal yet another excellent guitar solo.

The next song, the furiously paced “Deathmask Divine” is another favorite. The sped up Gothenburg riffs, blasting, double bass, and vocals typical of a BDM song are all there, but it is such a well-written song that is deserves a special mention. The guitars shift from melodic death riffs to a Dissection-like chorus riff and feature another well done solo. Shannon also shines on this track, creating some interesting bass drum and blasting patterns.

The last two songs on Nocturnal, “To a Breathless Oblivion” and “Warbon” both posses the most European influenced sound of the album. The former is a slower song (relatively speaking) whose somber, marching verse and guitar solo brings to mind Dissection again. “Warborn” is a slower track also, starting off with a more traditional Black Dahlia sound before returning to the Euro sound in the chorus. The tremolo picked riffs along with the melancholic guitar melody evokes the icy feel of Dissection quite well before the track fades into darkness.

While I highlighted a few tracks, there are no bad or even average songs on Nocturnal. Each song has its own distinct feel and flow. The Dissection influence runs deep throughout this album, and for me has been a huge plus for the band. I think that the more European influenced sound has made their music more interesting and more mature sounding. The addition of Shannon Lucas to the fold has only helped the band push its melodic death metal onslaught forward. While both of their previous albums were great, Nocturnal is their best and most complete album by far. As I’ve stated earlier; The Black Dahlia Murder have never sounded better, and if you have any interest in melodic death metal or Dissection you should give this album a spin.

A Classic Horror Movie Brought To Life - 95%

UpInSmoke, August 8th, 2008

After sampling The Black Dahlia Murder's Unhallowed and Miasma, I could tell that there was potential brewing beneath the surface for this band. Many people have said that they are nothing more than an At The Gates rip-off but from what I've heard, not so much. Some elements have definitely been taken from At The Gates, however who can safely say that every band has not once borrowed, copied, or even stolen certain styles from one band or another. That being said, The Black Dahlia Murder have been evolving over the years to form their own unique sound which they could call their own.

The first release, Unhallowed, brought forth a solid effort that show that the Detroit based band could hold their own. Miasma, while a good album in my opinion, felt sloppy with not enough thought put into the songs. The drums felt too random in certain parts and there didn't seem to be much effort put into the guitar solos except for a few tracks such as "Miasma", "Statutory Ape", and "A Vulgar Picture", making it hard to capture your attention with what seemed like such little time given to the solos themselves.

However, whereas Miasma felt rushed, Nocturnal seems to be a chance for redemption from Black Dahlia. The opening track, "Everything Went Black", begins nicely with quick prelude which soon speeds up to create a feeling of running through the woods trying to escape an unseen foe. "What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse", had perplexed me at first with the lack variation between Trevor's famous high screeching and low growling vocals but this seems to fit the song well, not trying too hard to make it too diverse but all the while letting the vocals fit in their respective positions. The song itself has a sheer sense of brutality with unrelenting drum beats and a catchy solo that brings to memory every vampire and monster movie that they've ever seen. Reaching the title track is a good refresher after the quick but short "I Worship Only What You Bleed", keeping the pace up with decent riffs and a heavy vocal pattern in the chorus that blends much better than the two previous LPs before it. The second to last track, "To A Breathless Oblivion", is a slower but powerful track that seems to invoke feelings loss and regret, complimented with what can be described as forlorn solo that only serves to confirm the aforementioned emotions that dwell within the song itself. "Warborn", is a good finisher, starting off with deep groaning vocals which are soon tag-teamed by the raspy high pitched style in a sort of bellowed fashion.

This is definitely a major step forward from 2005's Miasma, boasting a revamped style into a horror themed album which consists of well-thought solos, decent variations in the vocal styles and punishing drumming from Shannon Lucas, which was a good move by Black Dahlia to snatch him up in his downtime. If you're looking for a more in-depth offering from melodic death metal, I would recommend Nocturnal in a heart-beat, you won't be disappointed.

Absolutely Relentless - 100%

Hail_Ov_Gunfire, February 9th, 2008

I read the other reviews on this album, and while a few were well written and intelligent I found the majority unsatisfying. I decided to put down my own 2 cents into this brutal slab of extremity.

First and foremost, I'm tired of hearing (and seeing) the fucking metalcore tag being constantly placed on The Black Dahlia Murder. The sole reason they are associated with said genre is out of sheer laziness. They sprang forth during the metalcore blowout at the starting years of the millenium and were lumped in with the Killswitch Engages and As I Lay Dying clones. They have always been in my eyes and other Dahlia fans, a new wave of melodic death metal. So enough of this metalcore bullshit, because its unfair to the band.

Okay, that said, to the review:

Nocturnal, the band's latest offering is 10 tracks of scorching, relentless and terrifying horror-influenced death metal. Upping the ante from the critically acclaimed album, Miasma, they fused their signature sound with a potent blend of black metal and grind, resulting in a brutal atmosphere.

Vocalist Trevor Strnad brought sheer ultraviolence with his dual-vocal lines, combining black metal's feral shrieks with death metal's classic gutteral throat roars. The real treasure behind his vocals is the lyrics, penning the most horrifying themes as the apocalypse (Everything Went Black) demonic possesion and Satanic chaos magic (What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse), lost vampire societies (Nocturnal) and the ever popular TBDM subject necrophilia, as according to Trevor, "sticking your dick in the dead" (Virally Yours, Deathmask Devine). Seriously, read the lyric sheets for the album. Some of the most fucking sinister lyrics written, hands down.

Music-wise the band has grown more mature, blending black metal anti-harmony guitar lines with melodic death metal gallop and grind's brutal beatdowns. The solo's are memorable, melodic and distinctive. The speeds are all over the place, from mid-pace riff bonanzas to fast, pummeling chord assaults.

Credit also to new drummer Shannon Lucas who is easily an up-and coming drum hero.The man does it all. You want Laureano-esque blast beats? He does it with ease. You want double bass rolls that make Hellhammer crack a smile? He's got that too. The man sounds like a cacophony of machine guns, its so fucking ridiculous. Its seriously that good.

So I encourage you to purchase this album, or at the least check it out. As a rabid TBDM fan and extreme metal enthusiast I can promise you will not be disappointed with this release.

Absolutely relentless!

The Black Dahlia Murder are serious now - 80%

The_Boss, November 18th, 2007

I'm not one to enjoy metalcore bands at all, but fortunatly The Black Dahlia Murder have little -core elements involved with this release. I find this is more melodic death metal fused with some slight thrash moments and straightfoward brutaller death metal moments. I've enjoyed their earlier albums but only a few songs and this seems to continue with Nocturnal. Some songs are simply awesome, being very memorable and worthy of going nuts, while others seem to just be filler and sound the same.

Nocturnal is a more mature album I think, having a more quality sound with tight and crisp production shaping and molding each instrument to have its place and allowing it to each have a noticable moment throughout. The maturity of all the members being able to work well together as a band seems to have set making for a more serious approach at music. The bass has never been a big part of the metalcore scene but I've found some decent basslines involved alongside the melodic riffing. The guitars are tight but seem to have gone slightly more technical and attacking the listeners ears while being joined in with the ever brutal and intense drumming. A new drummer was hired and it jumpstarts the music on Nocturnal, making everything more intense and hectic. He's all over the place blast beats and double bass all done with talent.

The songs here range from highly memorable (see opening song) to rather boring (see Of Darkness Spawned - although nice solo!). Most songs here contain guitar solos, being rather short but also highly melodic in nature. Typically flowing through at a fast pace which bodes well with The Black Dahlia Murder's overall sound since it typically flies by at high speeds constantly. Nocturnal doesn't let down from the get go - guttural death metal vocals ripping through your ear drums while piercing otherworldly shrieks come out of nowhere. The lower vocals sound a little bit like Nergal at one point to me, (see Climatic Degradation). Most songs can be hit or miss but I'd say the album packs all the best and most memorable songs at the front. The end of the album seems to contain a lot of the filler type songs where they start to run together and sound the same. This is definitly an album I can't listen to all the way through at once, more like listen to three or four songs here then come back but fortunatly it's a relatively short album.

Overall, Nocturnal raises the bar for these types of bands and I surely can say that The Black Dahlia Murder are one of the best at this. High speed onslaught of melodic rhythmic guitar riffing mixed with a brutal drumset sets up an atmosphere of intensity allowing the listener to headbang endlessly. The highlights here, (Everything Went Black, What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, I Worship Only What You Bleed) are the songs flying at the highest speeds and even have a fairly memorable sing-along chorus. I really enjoy singing along to Everything Went Black with Trevor, "karmaaaatic... armageddoooooon!". If you enjoy the hybrid of melodic death, brutal death and slight metalcore elements The Black Dahlia Murder is for you, they do it best - which isn't saying much all the others suck.

Nocturnal Pulls off Brutal - 85%

ReighIB, September 19th, 2007

Hearing this album for the first time the first word that came up in my mind was "Brutal". I am glad to say that this word represents so much of what this album is made up of. If you already like The Black Dahlia Murder then don't even bother reading any reviews and just go get the cd. You will not be dissapointed.

The Black Dahlia Murder takes another notch up from where they previously left off from Miasma. There is not alot of significant change in their style of music. You can still recognize the band's nitch that happens here and there in the album. But is it the same like Miasma? Not at all. Theres different structures and outlines in the songs. They also added a little bit of groove which I really enjoy.

The guitarists in this band really knows how to create intensely brutal riffs. If you want music that makes you want to kick babies and kill small animals for no apparent reason then this is the music to litsen to. The guitar sounds violent and darker than before. The tone should satisfy much of the metal fans out there. The riffs seriously sounds like there on steroids.

Losing the previous drummer the band had they had to pick a new on quickly. They made the perfect choice by hiring Shannon Lucas. Im going to make this clear to you. Shannon Lucas is insane. Some drummers might explode from the sheer amazement of Shannon's drummings. 1000mph blast beats, bullet speed fills, precise accuracy of double bass, you get the idea. I cannot say enough good things about this guy. It is safe to say that Shannon's drumming improved the bands musical dynamics. If Shannon didn't play on this album then I probably wouldn't like it as much. He's seriously that good.

I love this album, but there is two things that didn't really stand out from the rest: the vocals and the lead guitars. Don't get me wrong, there both good but it seems like these two things stayed the same while everything else picked up. The vocal still has the high pitch scream and the low growl, but that's it, nothing new. The vocalist could have at least tried something new. Same with the solos and the leads. I swear I heard the same solos in Miasma and sometimes they seem out of place. To me it was outshined by everything else on this album. The solos didn't have a stand for themselves. Also I would have loved to hear some leads on some songs instead them all being riff-oriented. Maybe the next album.

That being said though there is nothing on this album that have declined from their previous works. All aspects of this band either kept their stauts quo or gotten to the next level(Which is rare to see in the world of metal). This is truly a step forward for this band. This album excites me everytime I litsen to it. Thank you for releasing this cd Black Dahlia Murder and showing all those sellout bands how to fucking play.

MASTERPIECE - 100%

Koombomblia, September 17th, 2007

The Black Dahlia Murder have always been known for releasing their solid albums that combine melodic death metal with elements of thrash and are always clearly original. This year's release is hands down the greatest album TBDM has ever written. I would consider this flawless masterpiece one of 2007's best albums.

Nocturnal proves these guys aren't here to fuck around. After a 2 year wait, Nocturnal destroys everything else the band has released in the past. Every song is amazingly written and crosses new boundaries that Unhallowed and Miasma weren't even close to. Nocturnal is almost black metal sounding at times, complete with the dueling guitar work that never fails to sound impressive.

Shannon Lucas was an incredibly good choice for this album, rarely letting up during any song. I wasn't too fond of his work in All that Remains, but he doesn't seem like he was a part of that at all while listening to Nocturnal. His blast beats are very accessible, upon listening to the first 3 tracks, I was notably impressed in his style.

One of the greatest changes in the band's progression are the vocals on the album. Trevor is definately at his peak during Nocturnal simply because he sounds completely different than his previous vocals. From high black metal-esque shrieks to guttural, almost Chris Barnes sounding deeps, Trevor continues to dominate the album.

Nocturnal is clearly The Black Dahlia Murder's greatest album. Each release, they continue to mature in their work. Every song on here is fucking ridiculous, none of them sound alike at all. The music is more diverse than their previous attempts. If you're a fan of great fucking metal, pick this up.

Highlights: Virally Yours, I Worship Only What You Bleed, Nocturnal, Of Darkness Spawned, To a Breathless Oblivion