The Black Dahlia Murder: Everblack

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The Black Dahlia Murder: Everblack
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The Black Dahlia Murder: Everblack
Melodic Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
June 11th, 2013
Release length: 44:33
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Over the years, The Black Dahlia Murder has become a name well known in the Metal community. The band has worked and toured hard to earn the respect and fanbase that it currently has, and they definitely deserve it. Sadly, once guitarist John Kempainen departed from the group, it immediately became clear they would never be the same. Since 2009’s Deflorate, The Black Dahlia Murder seem to be experimenting further and trying to fill in that gap, especially with the loss of drummer Shannon Lucas and bassist Ryan Williams last year. With Everblack, their sixth full-length effort, being hailed as their most complete recording yet, does it show that hole finally filled, or does this still leave more to be desired?

There’s no denying Everblack is a very matured album, which is something you can distinctively pick up on shortly after “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me” kicks in. The mid-range hum of the bass adds to the faster melodic and technical hooks. There’s also some traces of early first wave Black Metal influences like Mercyful Fate that can be felt. There are some abrupt changes in timing, such as the slower passage prior to the first guitar solo that brings in the first hint of atmosphere the release will see, making you wish the band would expand on it. You get little glimmers like this periodically through the release, such as the twisted symphonic bit during “Into the Everblack.” It gives the track a nice epic build that helps the transition from a decent guitar solo to a harsher, heavier assault focused more on gutturals and crushing stricter Death Metal riffs.

“Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn” definitely sticks out, but more in the sense that it throws back to the group’s earlier sound. The lead riffs offer a good deal of technicality, really sticking out and offering something unique to the groovier material in the background. The chorus becomes the most infectious, working well with the simpler, more closed off drumming. “Every Rope a Noose” retains a decent melodic touch, but for the most part handles itself like a typical chugging Death Metal cut. About two-and-a-half minutes in, things do become a bit more chaotic, ushering in another guitar solo that, once again, isn’t anything too spectacular, or even that atmospheric. But, it sounds amazing compared to the entirety of “Phantom Limb Masturbation.” At times it tries to tackle that epic scale “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me” had, but it just doesn’t deliver anywhere outside the chorus. This track focuses on deeper, faster music, but nothing substantial that differentiates it from any other track within the style, causing it to end up generic until the aforementioned section bursts in with a solid slab of melodic madness.

While a good majority of the material ends up a solid, enjoyable assault, the lack of atmosphere and many rather bland guitar solos really do leave you wanting more than varied leads over somewhat generic Death Metal. There’s a great deal of energy captured, and countless tracks are destined to become instant pit classics from an album that definitely would sound better live than it does on this studio recording. The maturity on display sounds great, but also removes what makes The Black Dahlia Murder one of today’s most unique Metal bands, finding their signature sound treading back to the early Melodic Death Metal and Gothenburg sound from around the turn of the century, the kind bands like In Flames or Beyond the Embrace released, but given a bit more brutality. Everblack is an album you need to go into with an open mind and give it time. Everblack is far from a bad album, but at the same time just isn’t too memorable, nor is it really a The Black Dahlia Murder release to begin with.

01. In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me – 5:20
02. Goat of Departure – 3:52
03. Into the Everblack – 4:34
04. Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn – 4:33
05. Phantom Limb Masturbation – 5:10
06. Control – 3:26
07. Blood Mine – 3:26
08. Every Rope a Noose – 3:52
09. Their Beloved Absentee – 5:01
10. Map of Scars – 5:19
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.