The words ‘criminally underrated’ are thrown around way too much nowadays, especially when it comes to bands as opposed to albums. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, however, are an outfit who are the living definition of the expression. For a band who are on the verge of releasing their eighth record, they really shouldn’t be coming over to the UK supporting for CANNIBAL CORPSE as they are in March next year because if the world was right they’d be playing venues like Brixton Academy under their own steam and selling them out in seconds. Their musical output has been unequivocally, consistently superb for their entire career and Nightbringers is the next chapter, out this Friday via Metal Blade Records. It’s also the first record to feature guitarist Brandon Ellis, who joined the band last year.
So, let’s get straight into it; you know that scene in Popeye, when the title character would rapidly punch his nemesis Bruno over and over again in the face? That’s Nightbringers in its purest form, nine songs that launch a full-on assault to the sense and refuse to let up. The sinister opening to Widowmaker sets the mood well, but the reality is that nothing prepares you for the explosion that follows. The furious Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake makes way for the thunderous Matriarch, released a couple of weeks ago and boasting a strong drumming performance from Alan Cassidy. The star member, however, is vocalist Trevor Strnad, who has such distinction in his pipes that the more casual listener might mistake THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER for having two separate vocalists; the way he changes between his tones is excellent, particularly on Jars.
That isn’t to say the rest of the band aren’t excellent as well: Catacomb Hecatomb is at a level of groovy that Austin Powers could only wish to reach and has a truly massive breakdown as well and As Good as Dead combines stomp with razor sharp IRON MAIDEN-esque solos that show new boy Ellis has settled in very nicely and provides a good foil for Brian Eschbach‘s expert rhythms underneath. A big shout out has to go to the production as well; many a death metal record has fallen foul of a mixing job that leaves everything sounding like a wall of noise and whilst this may appeal to some, the fact that we can hear every guitar note distinct from every drum crash, the odd rumble of bass and Strnad‘s aforementioned vocals is a real benefit to THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and gives Nightbringers an added edge to its already mighty power.
All in all, it’s another job well done for THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER: they’ve proved yet again why they’re the best at what they do out of everyone else in their genre and why, to reiterate earlier comments, they are one of the most criminally underrated bands on this planet. Album of the Year material? What do you think?
Nightbringers is set for release on October 6th via Metal Blade Records.
Like THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER on Facebook.