The Black Dahlia Murder has been pretty dependable with generally the same amount of time between each release. I like it when a band is fairly dependable on that part; although I am understanding if they take an extra year if they experience a brain fart when songwriting. It’s usually not the best idea for a band to make drastic changes each album because it can sometimes be kind of overwhelming for the listener. It’s best to make serious changes to your sound every other album; making two albums (in this case, Nocturnal and Deflorate) have the same general sound, but still displaying progression and maturing. So after releasing Nocturnal and Deflorate; both having generally the same high-pitched, fast, sound, it’s time they came up with something new.
I’m just going to be honest right off the bat; their new sound doesn’t impress me as much. All of you reviewers that are reading this know that one of the most frustrating things about reviewing albums is that your opinion on the album often changes a while after you write the review. Like for example, my review on Design the Skyline’s Neveah, I gave it a 16/20 or something like that. And now that I’ve actually taken the time to listen to it and explore the record in greater depths, the damn thing makes me feel like throwing up! So I have a feeling that sometime in the future, this album is going to either grow on me or turn me away (it’ll most likely grow on me). There is also going to most likely be a horde of people throwing the classic statements that a lot of us reviewers get such as “you need to be less narrow-minded!” and “you can’t expect a band to always stay the same!”. I got a lot of statements like that with my review of Bring me the Horizon’s 2010 album. Before you throw statements at me like that, read my other reviews!
The sound that The Black Dahlia Murder pulled off in Nocturnal and Deflorate was a really high-tuned, tight, fast sound with excruciatingly high-pitched screamed vocals (I mean that in a good way). Ritual’s sound is slower, down-tuned way lower than their previous albums, and there is a lot more growling being done. I think the growling is a cool idea because it balances out Trevor’s screams very well. I haven’t really figured out yet what the general theme of this album is. One would automatically think that since the album is called Ritual that it has satanic elements in it. But I’m not one that would think that this band would write songs about those sorts of things (although I don’t know any of the members’ religions or even if they’re religious/spiritual at all).
Even though this album obviously has the trademark Black Dahlia sound, the guitars have lost a disappointingly amount of technicality in most of the album. The breakdowns on this album are more pronounced and longer than on their previous records, which makes me think if touring with primarily deathcore bands has begun to have an influence on their music. But even though the guitars and bass have lost technicality, the drums haven’t. There is quite a bit more blast beats that can be heard all throughout the album (which is probably another deathcore influence).
I honestly wouldn’t give this as high of a score as Miniradman did because although this is still an impressive album that I bought soon after I saw them at the 2011 Summer Slaughter Tour, it’s shown somewhat of a lack of focus which is most likely due to constant touring (something that has caused numerous bands to start to lose focus and go downhill). There are several bands that have been affected by constant touring like Carnifex, Suicide Silence, Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying, and Children of Bodom. The Black Dahlia Murder has shown an excellent display of having the ability to still write good music while on the road. After two consecutive perfect scores on Nocturnal and Deflorate, Ritual gets 17/20.