Album Reviews

The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous Review

Released by Metal Blade Records

Release Date : April 17th, 2020

Genre: Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal

 

Lineup:

Trevor Strnad – Vocals

Brandon Ellis – Guitars

Brian Eschback – Guitars

Max Levalle – Bass

Alan Cassidy – Drums

 

Tracklist:

Verminous
Godlessly
Removal Of The Oaken Stake
Child Of Night
Sunless Empire
The Leather Apron’s Scorn
How Very Dead
The Wereworm’s Feast
A Womb In Dark Chrysalis
Dawn Of Rats

 

American death metal act The Black Dahlia Murder has completed almost two decades of a musical career and this year Metal Blade Records presents their ninth studio release titled “Verminious”. The band has chosen to walk the path of evolution over their last three albums and it seems that they didn’t have to sacrifice their famous speed and brutality to succeed in this mission. Even if the previous “Nightbringers” was still a product of straightforward velocity and aggression, this new album is a demonstration that the quintet has gradually and slowly changed their material. They seem to have accomplished their desire for diversity with “Verminious” by giving a more melodic and dynamic style to their sound.

One of the band’s famous features has always been their ability to use lots of listenable and accessible choruses and hooks to give a major balance to their death metal madhouse. Much of this responsibility often falls to their frontman Trevor Strnad, whose distinctive vocal style is an inseparable part of the band’s sound. These features are successfully included in their latest release “Nightbringers” of 2017. The band has also received some criticism in the past for providing ultrafast hard-hitting, but short-lasting death metal tracks with their previous records. However, this is not the case for “Verminious”, hence it’s finely shaped upon the success of its predecessor and it seems to have more substance into it.

Another important element to consider is that the tracks on this album are built upon the guitar work. The pressure upon the vocalist’s particular abilities to provide an identity to the songs seems to have been reduced. The frontman is certainly at his top form, but the album’s identity doesn’t rely exclusively on his personality this time.

The opening title track sounds like a typical The Black Dahlia Murder song, even though the guitar soloing gives a different style to the sound. “Godlessly” is a ferocious song, hence it slows down during the heavy chorus and the incredible soloing of Brandon Ellis. “Removal Of The Oaken Stake” gives an intense black metal perfume to the album, meanwhile “Child Of Night” walks into the heavy melodic death path. Here the frontman’s role in giving an old school flavor to the song is fundamental. “Sunrise Empire” is a piece of groove metal and advanced technicality, meanwhile “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” gives more moments of intense black metal scent to the record.

“How Very Dead” is a sample of heavy but memorable riffing which evolves into a chaotic death metal assault. “The Wereworm’s Feast” follows with its groove style, where the melodic guitar parts and the consistency of the percussion are remarkable. “A Womb In Dark Chrysalis” sounds like an ominous interlude before the strong ending with “Dawn Of Rats”, where the blackened guitar and drum sections behind the aggressive raw vocals are the real deal.

“Verminious” is not the album that conquers the listener from the first moment. Listening to the tracks with more attention shows that this record has a particular scent. “Verminious” sounds like the deepest but also dramatic and melodic work of the band to date. It might be difficult to identify any outstanding tracks, maybe those could be “Child Of Night” or the title track. This is a sharp, smart collection of songs in an album that is made to listen in its entirety. Moreover, it provides a much more rewarding and listenable experience in comparison to some of the band’s old material. It will undoubtedly please the band’s crowd, but it could also become a more accessible record for fans of other genres of metal music.

 

Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Katerina Paisoglou

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

 

 

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