Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Black Dahlia Murder - Everblack

The number of bands out there that are as dependable and consistent as The Black Dahlia Murder is so small that it’s almost irrelevant. Ever since their sophomore release in 2005, the technical death behemoths have yet to release a less-than-amazing record. Each album has only made them bigger, each one doing more than its predecessor. If you’re a loser like me and track all the big metal labels on SoundCloud, you probably remember how quickly Metal Blade racked up the numbers when they posted the first single off the new Black Dahlia Murder album. I remember looking at my dashboard on SoundCloud and seeing that Metal Blade Records posted the “title” track from the new album 2 hours ago and the play count already being more than 9000. I know that may not seem like much, but considering how small the metal community on that site is, that’s a fucking hell of a quick response. The title of the new record, Everblack, once again continues their trend of using only one word (Unhallowed, Miasma, Nocturnal, Deflorate, Ritual, and now Everblack).

The Black Dahlia Murder is known for a lot of things. One of these things in particular played a big part in everyone’s thoughts on what this record might sound like. When you listen to just about any Black Dahlia song, especially Black Valor, Necropolis, Carbonized in Cruciform, A Selection Unnatural, and a few other select titles, you hear one of the most unique-sounding blast beats known to humans. The speed, technicality, skill, and utter tightness is literally unlike anything I’ve ever heard before with the exception of a FEW (very heavy emphasis on FEW) drummers/gods. But even then, none of the drummers that I’ve heard have a blast beat that sounds even CLOSE to what Shannon Lucas does. When I first started listening to these guys back in 2007 (the year that their legendary Nocturnal album was released), I only liked them because of the drums. I didn’t start to realize that the rest of the members also had talent until I saw them live for the first time in 2009. Even today, every time I listen to these guys, the drums are almost always what I end up focusing on (especially if it’s their Deflorate record).

So taking that into consideration, you can probably imagine how I might have felt when I saw the video on YouTube of Shannon Lucas, my favorite thing about that band, announcing that he was leaving The Black Dahlia Murder. Seriously, you can’t listen to Black Valor and not be able to tell how fucking unique his blast beats and…well…overall playing style is! I was almost totally convinced that there was no way that they could find a replacement that was HALF as good as Lucas. When the song Into the Everblack went live, I actually didn’t listen to it until over a week later out of fear that the Black Dahlia Murder that I’ve grown to love and respect was not going to be the same and would have less-impressive drums. Well obviously, if you’ve already listned to Into the Everblack, you can probably guess how fucking embarrassed I was with myself for having even considered that these guys wouldn’t have high enough standards to never settle for a musician that isn’t top-notch and one of the best at what they do. This is the fucking Black Dahlia Murder. So yes, the drums on this album are fucking amazing. The blast beats are SOMEWHAT similar to Shannon’s, but definitely not the same. Regardless, it doesn’t bother me because this guy is just as good as Shannon in everything else, and his blast beats are similar enough to Shannon’s that I can let it slide and not let it bother me.

Who is this drummer? Well he’s only a few years older than I am. From the minimal research I did on him, the earliest thing he did was for some metalcore or deathcore (I didn’t bother listening to their music) band called The Breathing Process in 2008. The other bands he’s played with are very recent bands or ones that he just joined in the past two or three years. The only “notable” band that he’s played for is Abigail Williams, which was from 2011-2012. Although I honestly wouldn’t count that because he didn’t do any recordings with them that I’m aware of. So basically, this guy is pretty new to the scene and has to have a hell of a lot of talent and skill to have a band like Black Dahlia say “that guy right there, we want him on drums”.  

As for the rest of the overall sound of the album, it’s pretty much like every other album they’ve put out. Everblack continues the change that the band made in Ritual by not having the blistering speed as constant. But the difference between the two records would be that the mood of the songs are much more like Nocturnal and Miasma than Ritual, which was a good decision for them to make. So a simple way to think about it would be to imagine the Nocturnal album, only a tad slower and not as much blast beat drumming. The vocalist has gotten a lot better at hitting the low growls, which has always been an issue before because of how fucking high-pitched the shrieks he does are. There’s nothing at all about this album that will let you down.

Everything about this is just yet another example of how consistent and dependable The Black Dahlia Murder is. Despite almost constant touring, these Midwesterners have managed to craft another masterpiece that I can say is on my favorite albums of the year list. If you’re very familiar with this band’s sound, you already know that this is one hell of a fucking beast of a record. Even if the band’s sell-out reputation has distorted your opinion on them, I would highly recommend that you listen to this album, or at least Into the Everblack. Anyone that loves extreme music can find something on this to love. This gets 19/20.