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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.