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| 11 June 2013 | Reply


Label: Metal Blade Records

Release Date: June 11, 2013

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by: Mike Hubbard

There are a number of unanswered questions in life. “Does the Loch Ness Monster exist?” “Was there a second gunman in the grassy knoll?” “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?” “Why did anyone ever consider The Black Dahlia Murder a metalcore band?”  Have those people who consider TBDM metalcore ever actually listened to the music? Or more to the point, to the lyrics? Maybe it is because the band members actually smile while performing and look like they are enjoying themselves. Maybe it is because of their arrival on the scene at around the same time that metalcore was taking off. For whatever reason, if there is anyone out there still calling them metalcore, their sixth studio album, Everblack, should once and for all convince them that TBDM is melodic death metal. Period.  Everblack, scheduled for release on June 11, 2013, is the first recording with new bassist Max Lavalle and drummer Alan Cassidy. The title has two meanings for the band. First, it is a reference to their view that death is the end and there is no life after death, all is ever black. Second, it is a reference to the fact that the band is true to its roots even with the line-up changes, they are ever The Black Dahlia Murder.  Another one of life’s unanswered questions is “Who killed the Black Dahlia?” The historical event that inspired the band’s name is a topic that has not been addressed previously by the band, but is the subject of the opening track “In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me”. Fittingly, “In Hell” is 100% TBDM, driving tempo, alternating screeches and growls from vocalist Trevor Strnad, and dark morbid lyrics. The next two tracks “Goat of Departure” and “Into the Everblack”, continue in the same vein. However, the fourth song, “Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn”, begins to mix things up a bit musically. The lyrics of “Raped in Hatred” are based on the movie Evil Dead, but the music is more accessible than a typical TBDM tune, following a standard verse-chorus structure with an almost sing-along chorus. It is still very much TBDM, but shows some expansion from the standard death metal blueprint. The next track, “Phantom Limb Masturbation”, lyrically exhibits some of the dark humor one comes to expect from TBDM, but also shows some of their hardcore roots musically.

Tracks 6 (“Control”) and 7 (“Blood Mine”) feature the writing skills of lead guitarist Ryan Knight. They are more melodic, particularly “Blood Line”, which is one of catchier tunes of the album. Catchy for death metal, that is.  “Every Rope a Noose” is the darkest track on Everblack, which is saying a lot. The dark ominous feeling leans toward black metal more than most offerings from the band.  The penultimate track, “Their Beloved Absentee”, may be my favorite on the album. It opens with a brief atonal choir intro, leading into a driving 6/8 time brutal assault. Strnad’s unique ability to blend alternating growls and screeches are on full display, leaving the listener exhausted by the end of the song.  Everblack closes fittingly with “Map of Scars”. Lyrically disturbing, musically unnerving, “Map” is a perfect summary of all that is The Black Dahlia Murder.  Ten years after the release of their first full length, TBDM continues to grow and mature, although they show absolutely no signs of mellowing. Heading out this summer on the Warped Tour across the US for the first time, Everblack arms TBDM with a fresh arsenal to blow away the legions of fans that will see them for the first time, and to keep their long-time fans coming back for more.

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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