If someone had told me a month ago, I’d have never believed it. Actually I’d have probably thought they were crazy. But sure enough, with the knowledge I now possess, if someone had told me a month ago that THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER is one badass band that I need to check out, I would advise myself to listen, as it is sound advice. I admit, for the entire course of TBDM’s career, I thought them to be nothing more that your run-of-the-mill Metalcore band, since that’s basically what all the “elitists” would have you to believe. But now that I took the chance and picked up the band’s 2007 release, “Nocturnal”, I can honestly say that anyone who calls TBDM “Metalcore” has obviously never actually heard one of their albums, and is, therefore, way off base. In the few weeks since purchasing “Nocturnal”, I’ve also purchased the band’s first two releases, and downloaded their original demo, and with that I can say that they’ve never been Metalcore. When will I learn not to listen to the holier-than-thou types?
Anyway, now that I’ve tried my hardest to establish that TBDM is not Metalcore, let me try to explain what they are. On “Nocturnal”, and really each album they’ve released, TBDM mix together elements of Melodic Death (melody, leads-a-plenty, MAIDEN-esque solos and throaty vocals), brutal Death Metal (an abundance of blastbeats, guttural vocals), with maybe just a tiny, tiny dash of Black Metal in the atmosphere. Mix all that together with outstanding songwriting and some greatly memorable choruses, and you have one hell of an album that is absolutely relentless from start to finish.
As far as pointing out individual songs, I could easily just recommend every one of them, but for the sake of argument, I’ll give you four you must hear. Start with the first three tracks, then pick up the title track, to get a great picture of what “Nocturnal” is all about. "What a Horrible Night To Have A Curse" (gotta love anything that pays homage to Simon’s Quest) is one of the best songs released in 2007, with a chorus I can never, ever get out of my head. And the thing with TBDM choruses is that there is absolutely no sticky-sweet clean singing, so even the great choruses are vocalized in great Death Metal fashion. “Virally Yours” is one of the most straight-up Death Metal songs on the album, and features great lyrics about a medical professional who gets off on death, if you know what I mean. Lyrically, “Nocturnal” is a real treat as long as you dig horror-based lyrics.
The guys in TBDM have talent to spare in both the instrumental and songwriting categories. Add to that the beautifully dark and foreboding cover art from Kristian Wĺhlin (DISSECTION, ENSIFERUM, etc.), and you get one hell of an overall package with “Nocturnal”. My only complaint with the TBDM is that didn’t bother to check them out sooner. Highly Recommended.
(Online February 14, 2008)