Review: The Black Dahlia Murder “Verminous” [Metal Blade Records]

Review: The Black Dahlia Murder “Verminous” [Metal Blade Records]

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After three long years, The Black Dahlia Murder returns with their most ambitious album to date. Opening a new chapter in their illustrious career, the Michigan death metal troupe experiments with their sound, all while maintaining the destructive style that they have made a name for themselves with all these years.

Taking a more melodic route than they have on past efforts, Verminous builds upon the solid foundation that The Black Dahlia Murder have layed down since their inception.

Reemerging on the scene with calamitous intent, this powerhouse of an album sets out to destroy everything in its path with apocalyptic force.

While distinctly setting itself apart from Black Dahlia’s catalogue, Verminous maintains the group’s signature sound; simply expanding it to include all periods of the bands career and what lies ahead as well. With blast beats galore, insane riffing and blazing solos, this is distinctly a death metal album, all the while including (albeit briefly) the whiplash inducing grind passages found on early releases and incorporating a lot more melody.

Dynamics play a huge role on Verminous, with shifting tempos and the occasional loud-soft dynamic lending themselves to a new found emotional element to The Black Dahlia Murder‘s sound. This new found sensitivity does not in any way detract from the album’s crushing weight. In fact, this new element creates an even more devastating atmosphere to serve as the backdrop for the band’s signature Death Metal assault.

Title track, Verminous, reveals much of the group’s new found interests right up front, with a lot of melody to be found in the riffing. Frontman Trevor Strnad‘s vocal attack is as good as ever and all the more expressive. The track sees him alternating quickly between demonic cries and guttural growls, creating a very cinematic feeling in these opening moments.

Longtime fans should not be scared away from this one, as there is plenty of straight up death metal to be enjoyed. Tracks like The Leather Aprons Scorn will delight purists with it’s no nonsense riffing and creatively violent subject matter.

The standout track for me comes in the form of album closer Dawn of the Rats. A blazing death metal number with an uncharacteristically anthemic feel. Face melting lead work is plentiful, as is the band’s typically phenomenally drum work. Solos are technically breathtaking, while also overflowing with emotion. At times, the band falls into a sound reminiscent of an amped up Iron Maiden, adding to the track’s epic feel.

Verminous is the highlight of The Black Dahlia Murder‘s amazing career thus far. Miles of new ground is covered, while keeping the sound that fans fell in love with all those years ago. A veritable masterclass in keeping things fresh, Verminous is a big win for the The Black Dahlia Murder and fans alike.

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Peter Morsellino

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