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Album Reviews : The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal

By on October 21, 2015

tumblr_inline_npqslpjC2m1tvthz5_500As a diehard The Black Dahlia Murder fan, I was eager to get my hands on their latest offering, Abysmal. I hadn’t given as much attention to Everblack as perhaps I should have, so this was my chance to sink my teeth back into their signature melodic ferocity.

Those familiar with the melodic death metal band will be able to dive straight into this one, as it’s pretty much the same brand of remorseless, melancholy metal seen on most Black Dahlia Murder releases. Trevor Strnad’s rhythmic shrieks and growls are much unchanged, as is Brian Eschbach’s style of complex, galloping guitar work that strings together riff after riff seamlessly. Because of these two, as well as Ryan Knight’s fantastic solos, it’s unfortunate that the other two members are often unnoticed for their own unique touches to the band, as the drum and bass duties have been passed between more men than Taylor Swift. The blast beats and bass lines are not unappreciated, but don’t stand out to me as what makes the band special.

The album opens up with the complex melodies of “Receipt,” which stands out to me as something that would easily fit in the middle of Deflorate or Ritual. “Vlad, Son of the Dragon” is aligned more with traditional melodic death metal. The title track’s blast beats and tremolo riffs take a different direction, with a catchy pre-chorus and a memorable solo. “Re-faced” contains ever-shifting riffs, evolving throughout the direction of the song. “Threat Level No. 3” is a more aggressive track, straight forward and heavy. “The Fog,” to me, is one of the band’s very few missteps; the rhythm is jarring, the riffs simple, and don’t seem fitting. “Stygiophobic” is a dissonant, dirge that feels satisfying but isn’t as thrilling as the rest. “Asylum” continues the aggression through to “The Advent,” which carries head banging grooves throughout. “That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead” rounds the album off with a slight symphonic touch to the introduction, and a haunting lead omnipresent within the chugging of the rhythms.

To continue to release similar material every release is something most critics and fans alike would consider dull, redundant, and to the point, a waste of time. Very few bands are able to release music in the same wavelength as the previous album and pull it off, and due to their entrancing style and infectious melodies, The Black Dahlia Murder are one of those few bands. Although Abysmal is incredibly similar to the last three albums they’ve churned out, it’s still addictive enough to devour like a glutton in the third circle of hell.


Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode