THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
Never having been renowned for their lengthy studio albums, with most clocking in between 30 and 35 minutes, The Black Dahlia Murder’s ninth full-length offering, ‘Verminous’, is another succinct platter of straight-to-the-point, no-nonsense, filler-free, extreme metal cuts. A band that adhere to extremity in many different ways, they remain extremely heavy, extremely technical, extremely dark, extremely melodic, extremely metal … and extremely fucking fantastic. They’ve delivered the goods time and again, and here's another work of incisively technical, deathed-up discharge with guitar riffs and leads that exhilarate, rhythms and tempos that bewilder, and melodies to soothe your passage through all the cacophonic madness.
Instrumentally, all the musicians are on overdrive for this latest outing, seemingly pushing the parameters of their own virtuosic abilities. Interestingly, frontman Trevor Strnad is quoted in the blurb as saying it’s “a masochistic thrill in performing this technically demanding music… We live to destroy ourselves onstage every night.” Stamina evidently plays as much of a part as dexterity, and any band that sets out to challenge their own abilities in such an act of artistic masochism is to be admired. The vocal delivery of Strnad himself shouldn’t be underestimated either and, this time around, edges more towards the rasped growls of Trevor Nadir from Italian tech/prog-metallers Sadist … must be something about vocalists called Trevor, but that’s who he reminds me of on ‘Verminous, rather overtly.
The album might only be just over 35 minutes long, but it has a ton of replay value. There’s so much going on in the songs that nuances, depths and the subtlest of touches only start to reveal themselves after many listens. And it has a production and mix that lends itself well to such a sentiment. Refreshingly, ‘Verminous’ sounds organic and alive, rather than succumbing to any kind of super-slick, clinically rendered Pro Tools polish. As such, the finer details are embedded organically within the natural fabric of the mix of the songs, rather than given any sort of polished precedence.
Crammed with pit fury potential, and loaded with tons of creative and accessible melodies that have been weaved through the maelstrom of imaginative, riff-heavy extremity, this is an exercise in refined and controlled chaos. Incisively delivered but with a shrewdly penetrating flair, 'Verminous' invigorates with both its cacophonic brutality and euphonic succour. Bottom-line - it's a fucking fantastic twenty first century extreme metal record. It’s Carcass on speed with all kinds of engaging neo-classical infusions. Perfect!
Review by Mark Holmes
17th April 2020
3) Removal of the Oaken Stake
4) Child of Night
5) Sunless Empire
6) The Leather Apron's Scorn
7) How Very Dead
8) The Wereworm's Feast
9) A Womb in Dark Chrysalis (Interlude)
10) Dawn of Rats
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Crammed with pit fury potential, and loaded with tons of creative and accessible melodies that have been weaved through the maelstrom of imaginative, riff-heavy extremity, this is an exercise in refined and controlled chaos."