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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