The Black Dahlia Murder has always been ignored by me, mainly because of the silly name and the metalcore appearance of the band members. Therefore, I judged them as a generic American metalcore band, writing them off completely from my radar without actually listening to their work. Then this album came before me and I finally had to give the guys a chance. So here I am thinking that I was about to listen to those awful and annoying vocals and guitars so distorted that my ears would beg for deafness. Well, The Black Dahlia Murder, I offer you my sincere apologies.
Don’t let the band name or any other element fool you, because these guys play melodic death metal, and they are good at it. Despite having a few elements of metalcore on their early works, The Black Dahlia Murder managed to evolve their sound into a respectable act, reaching maturity along the way. Good efforts like ‘Deflorate’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Everblack’ helped shape the band’s characteristic sound, while also contributing to leaving behind what little of metalcore they had left.
‘Abysmal’ is the 7th full length by the band, and it pretty much continues where ‘Everblack’ ended, music-wise. They start out with “Receipt”, a good tune filled with skilled riffs and a cool introduction, with special attention to axeman Brian Eschbachand drummer Alan Cassidy. Alongside “Asylum” and “That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead”, these three songs offer you the characteristic sound that the band managed to accomplish over the years, as the fast and brutal appeals that were present in previous albums are the main course here too. The album has a couple of fillers in “Threat Level No. 3” and “The Fog”, two songs that offer little to the album and feature rather uninspiring songwriting and just an ok performance by the musicians, but nothing that completely ruins the whole experience. The album slows down a bit only in “Stygiophobic”, a welcomed mid-paced tune with a doom atmosphere and heavy guitar work. The true highlight of the album, though, resides in the great “Vlad, Son of the Dragon”, which features a potent choir filled with energy and anger, giving the song a brutal vibe that will make you want to destroy everything in your way.
A good effort, although a little inconsistent and a step down from ‘Everblack’, ‘Abysmal’ manages to entertain the listener throughout most of the album, and should please longtime fans while also raising the curiosity of the casual listener. If you are like me, who has a strong resistance to anything that differs from the traditional forms of metal regarding appearances, band names, attitude and such, and is unwilling to listen to The Black Dahlia Murder because of whatever reason above, give these guys a chance and you might be surprised.
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