by The Black Dahlia Murder


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Since the Black Dahlia Murder appeared in 2003 with the compelling if imperfect Unhallowed, they've established a well-deserved reputation for innovation and heaviness on death metal's extreme edge. Due to a grueling touring regimen and work ethic, they've garnered a fanatical following that seems to grow almost exponentially with each release. Nightbringers, their eighth, marks the first time TBDM have consciously looked at their roots and brought them into the present as a basis to push off from. Part of the rear-view glance may have to do with new lead guitarist Brandon Ellis (also a member of tech-death powerhouses Arsis). Not only does he deliver brutal riffage, he composed a good deal of the material on Nightbringers based on the influence of the band's trademark sound. While earworm hooks and crunchy brutal riffs have always been part of TBDM's sonic signature (along with Trevor Strnad's dark poetic lyrics and unhinged vocals), listeners have not heard them in such abundance since 2007's Nocturnal and 2008's Deflorate. This is true to such a degree that the set's four standout tracks (though there are no weaklings in this 33-minute crash-and-burn assault) could have been easily placed on either of those recordings and, as a whole, this set feels like it completes a trilogy, albeit a decade on. Opener "Widowmaker" is one of the best starter cuts the group has delivered in a while. The riff is monolithic; its hook won't let go. The melody is underscored by Strnad's instantly recognizable, earthquaking vocals (complete with visceral screams) and a maniacal shredding solo by Ellis. With its twin-guitar riffing, the title track single is more chug than squall, but drummer Alan Cassidy and bassist Max Lavelle build on that with double-timed kick drum force and a ferocious bass throb. Strnad's non-clichéd indictment of Christianity is growled and screamed, empowered further by Ellis' screaming solo and Brian Eschbach's detuned atonal counterpoint riff. "Kings of the Nightworld" is full-throttle melo-death complemented by menacing, chanted gang vocals, and makes for one of the set's catchiest tracks. It's followed by "Catacomb Hecatomb," whose twin-guitar intro is rivaled by the whomp of Cassidy's kit and Strnad's seemingly effortless vocal glide between filthy guttural roil and assaultive screaming. The set finishes strong as well, first with the gorgeous guitar interplay and blastbeats in "As Good as Dead," while closer "The Lonely Deceased" seems to pour gasoline on the fire -- even during an acoustic guitar break in the middle. Most bands who've been together this long reach a point where all that's left is refining an already established signature. The Black Dahlia Murder needn't refine anything. As displayed on Nightbringers, there's plenty of room left to explore and experiment inside their sound, while expanding its parameters. They've done both to excellent effect here.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/06/2017
Label: Metal Blade
UPC: 0039841552829
catalogNumber: 155282
Rank: 39319

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