The Black Dahlia Murder- Abysmal

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label: Metal Blade Records
Released: 2015
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Band Line-up:TheBlackDahliaMurder-Abysmal

Brian Eschbach – Guitar,
Trevor Strnad – Vocals,
Ryan Knight – Guitar,
Max Lavelle – Bass,
Alan Cassidy – Drums.

Track Listing:

1. Receipt
2. Vlad, Son Of The Dragon
3. Abysmal
4. Re-Faced
5. Threat Level No. 3
6. The Fog
7. Stygiophobic
8. Asylum
9. The Advent
10. That Cannot Die Which Is Eternally Dead


It seems a little strange to imagine a world where THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER are the source of many a metal snob’s ire. The band have stayed their course and consistently put out great albums to the acclaim of the community, but their early days were subject to elitist put downs and sneering: “It’s not real death metal…”

How times have changed. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER now frequent tours with some of extreme metal’s finest with nary a cross word against their presence, all the while releasing consistent, high-quality cuts of melodic death metal. What we ave here in “Abysmal”, the band’s seventh album, is more of the same. A faster, more rabid-affair, “Abysmal” clatters along with mouth-frothing fury and unrelenting speed – if Alan Cassidy’s introduction on “Everblack” wasn’t an indication of his prowess with the sticks, this most certainly will. The man is a feral beast behind the kit.

It provides a fitting anchor for the chaotic riffs and solos that sit atop – “Vlad, Son Of The Dragon” proves a wilder affair, whilst “Threat Level No. 3” carries a chunkier nature to proceedings – try not headbanging to the beefy bridge riff. It’s not until we reach “The Fog” and “Stygiophobic” where things slow down – the former presenting a severe case of multiple personality disorder in switching erratically between the band’s more melodic sensibilities and their finger-flaying riffs; whilst the latter brings the grooves.

“Abysmal” is a tiring album – it blasts so consistently and pummels so furiously, it actually takes a hell of a lot out of you. Where some albums are technically proficient and equally furious, it takes a special kind of songwriting and craft to write an album that is both emotionally and physically cathartic. It may grate on some listeners who are craving some light relief, but “Abysmal” is the embodiment of everything THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER is up to know: wicked melodies woven into maniacal death metal to a premium quality. On such a showing as this, they demonstrate their twelve years experience in the game – they know the drill and it’s used on your skull.

Review by: Lee Carter