Combining death metal with anything resembling melody kinda defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it? Guess no one ever bothered to tell the Black Dahlia Murder this heavy metal golden rule, as evidenced by their fourth studio release overall, 2009's Deflorate
. But don't be misled: it's not like they're going to be confused anytime soon as power pop champions when it comes to melodic content -- it's a tiny pinch of melody stirred into gallons of brutal extreme metal. The album signals the first appearance by new guitarist Ryan Knight, replacing John Kempainen
, who played on all of the group's previous studio efforts. However, the slight lineup hiccup has not affected the ferocity of the Black Dahlia Murder's mighty metal attack, especially on such eardrum blasters as "Necropolis" and "Denounced, Disgraced." As with past Black Dahlia Murder releases, Trevor Strnad
is one of the genre's most impressive vocalists, as he effortlessly alternates between screechy screams and guttural growls, without ever missing a beat. Some bands soften their approaches with experimentation as their discographies grow. Deflorate
proves that the Black Dahlia Murder will not be listed in this category anytime soon.