The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers
Released: 6th October 2017
The Black Dahlia Murder Line up —
Trevor Strnad // Vocals
Brian Eschbach // Rhythm Guitar
Brandon Ellis // Lead Guitar
Max Lavelle // Bass
Alan Cassidy // Drums
The Black Dahlia Murder Online —
If there’s one thing you can say about melodic death metal as a whole over the past decade, is that as a general rule, it has become horrendously stale and any band who was once quite good is now creating shit. *cough* In Flames *cough* But there has been one mainstay that has endeavoured to not disappoint, and has in fact exceeded everyone’s expectations: The Black Dahlia Murder. Releasing their eighth full length release, you would be remiss in thinking it was just another retread.
Nightbringers is an absolute enigma. Taking a cue from their earlier works, the album is only a cool thirty three minutes long, but is packed with a some of the most eerily complex yet satisfyingly concise music the band has crafted to date. Brandon Ellis’ addition to the group seems to be a perfect fit, as the the first few bars of ‘Widowmaker’ instantly grabbed my attention. A finger blistering riff that is the embodiment of melodic groove galloped over my body before turning into the most refreshing solo I’ve heard in a melodeath record all year. The next two songs only serve to solidify the expectations created by the first; ‘Of God…’ and ‘Matriarch’ serve up some of the most headbangable riffs ever conceived by human minds and honestly feel like someone is trying to mash your brain into your spinal column with the sheer ferocity of it all.
The title track is no less enthralling. It’s absolutely invigorating to actually hear the bass in a death metal album, and this track is the epitome of that; Max Lavelle’s hammering, swinging bass lines offer the foundation for the wondrously face melting solos to soar across the structure of the song. As with ‘The Lonely Deceased’ and ‘Catacomb Hecatomb,’ Lavelle is the grotesque beating heart that pushes the poisonous burning energy to the rest of the band, pushing every other instrument to be a flesh grinding blend of whirlwind speed and bone crunching groove. Speaking of ‘Catacomb Hecatomb,’ that song is a fucking beast; “spider sacks erupt a million tiny princes” is complemented by perhaps the catchiest section on the whole album, a roiling fog of heaviness spews from the speakers of whatever you’re using and will absolutely fucking possess you to break your body as you attempt to contort yourself in time with the music.
Trevor Strnad is also a big part of why the album is also so impactful, regardless of whether you can understand the lyrics first listen — they’re primal, they’re brutal and they’re intoxicating. Able to weave stories better than most fucking authors, Strnad paints (in placenta and blood probably) grotesque mental images that’ll leave you feeling mentally sullied and willing to scrub your eyes out with a meat fork. ‘The Lonely Deceased,’ whilst being a perfect synthesis of all the band’s efforts, are accompanied by lovely excerpts such as “The morgue is my sick whorehouse / Their bodies favourites toys / Anointing them with ejaculate / All the good little girls and boys.” If having sex with dead people isn’t metal, I don’t know what is.
Overall, I can find absolutely no fault with this release. Much like the overlooked Deflorate, this album is concise to the point of mechanic precision whilst being so organically engaging it feels like it’s evolving personally for you and you alone. If Black Dahlia Murder suffer from any shortcoming, it’s that they’re TOO consistent; it’s difficult to really compare and rank their work when it’s been so brutally great for so damn long. Either way, Nightbringers is a masterful abomination, a perfect being stitched together with the most appalling parts of every band member’s psyche and given aural form.
The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers tracklist
- Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake
- Kings of the Nightworld
- Catacomb Hecatomb
- As Good as Dead
- The Lonely Deceased