Band History: Since their debut release of Unhallowed in 2003, the Michigan-born melodic death metal act widely known as The Black Dahlia Murder has been shredding, kicking and screaming their way through the American underground metal scene. Through the many albums they've put out over the last fourteen years and the countless live shows they've performed at, this modern musical group has no doubt created a household name for themselves in their hardwork and dedication. Most notably, the band is on the popular metal label Metal Blade Records and occasionally goes on tour, also frequently playing at the Summer Slaughter events. In all, The Black Dahlia Murder is a very recognizable and very prominent name in modern death metal.
Album Summary: Now, today's latest effort by the melodic death metallers themselves, named Nightbringers, incorporates all of the elements that made their previous offerings so great...and cranks the destruction dial up to eleven and even beyond that. The new The Black Dahlia Murder release is truly one that succeeds at refining the band's current sound and exceeding expectations of awesomeness on all given accounts. The music on this album is undeniably and viciously loud and heavy; and the melodies are both entertaining and memorable throughout, making this brutal new addition to the band's discography a modern masterpiece you should not miss out on.
Why It's Great: It's quite difficult to get over how well thought out and executed the compositions have come to be, with all members contributing to the overall aura of the music. The guitar work contains copious amounts of the "Dahlia riffs" we've all come to know and appreciate. The bass tone isn't too shabby at all either, and the rhythmic pacing of the drums adds greatly, with tons of double-bass kicking and blast beats added to the mix. Finally, the vocal prowess makes a return once again, and it's more aggressive than ever before. The production quality also does the record adequate justice.
Album Analysis: Nightbringers begins with a track titled "Widowmaker", which is arguably one of the best and most memorable on here. It starts off the album with a rather epically mysterious tone, with built-up ambiance and a booming, almost explosive atmosphere that rivals that of a Michael Bay film. Then, all of a sudden, the instrumentals come in with an abruptly savage bang, and the vocals follow soon enough after with a blood-curdling scream. The drums sound really enthusiastic, as do the other instruments...and the vocalist is undoubtedly pissed this time, judging from the energy. The song follows a rather straightforward verse-chorus-solo-chorus formula—but, make no mistake, it is truly a grueling introduction to what's in store.
The album continues with two more tracks, which are about as aggressive, as melodic, and as brilliant as the first, with even more riffs, more soloing action, and even greater vocal strength than what was heard prior. The consistent switch between high and low unclean vocals is another aspect of this band that is worth admiring.
The titular track "Nightbringers" is another personal favourite. The inherent melody and underlying themes are very chilling and fit the music well. Listening to the song itself makes one want to pick apart the seperate instrumentals and dissect their structures. Also, the dramatic undertones here and there, provided by bass and/or rhythm guitar, add some formidability and presence to the already strong atmosphere.
The album continues with several more tracks until the end, with each rivaling the energy and integrity of the previous. The album lasts well over half-an-hour, with nine songs, and it just feels as though the performance gains more liveliness and vigor as the album progresses. In particular, the track titled "Jars" contains a metric ton of the aforementioned, and with everything else you'd want in a The Black Dahlia Murder composition.
Finally, the record comes to a close with my personal favourite song "The Lonely Deceased", the longest on this release. The track builds up at the beginning, giving opening to another five or so minutes of greatness (and subsequently bringing closure to a great listening experience). At this point, there's not much more that can be said that hasn't already been mentioned before, so just go ahead and listen to it for yourself. Just a little spoiler: the track has a short, folk-like acoustic section towards the midpoint with shrieking in the background...pretty different, right? The band then joins in and plays as normal until the final chords are striked at the very end, with a very last melodic section that marks the end to the chaos and destruction that is Nightbringers.
The Verdict: As a concluding statement, the latest (and possibly greatest) The Black Dahlia Murder musical offering titled Nightbringers truly proves its worth as a modern masterpiece of sorts and ends up as a record devoid of any faults or shortcomings. The band has exceeded expectations here, bringing back the brutality, the melody, and the mystifying lore of their previous works and accentuating the experience even more so. With all its riffs, all its shrieks, and all of the several other quirks that comprise this album and come together to make it the exhilirating effort that it is to listen to, Nightbringers will surely melt heads for years to come. And, with all this excitement, this reviewer is already curious to see what The Black Dahlia Murder is bound to come up with in two years time from now.
Fave Tracks: All of them...but "Widowmaker", "Nightbringers", and "The Lonely Deceased" are top three, with "Jars" as an honourable mention.
**The Black Dahlia Murder's new full-length album Nightbringers is out today, in stores and online, and on digital and physical (CD, vinyl) formats. Album is also available on tour.**
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Review by: Dave Raffy
-Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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