"Deflorate" (Metal Blade; 2009)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The Black Dahlia Murder returns with a terse homage bountifully bursting with Swedish metal influence with their unique blackened thrash twists embedded within on their 10-track, 34-minute collection "Delforate."

Showcasing swift jabs of focused aggression with a familiar brutality behind it all (“Eyes of Thousands”), this Michigan troupe’s delectable twin guitar tandem craft some niftily nefarious solos (“Throne of Lunacy”, “Necropolis”) while Trevor Strnad’s varied vocal approaches continues to spew venom (although exhibiting a tad more restraint than usual), allowing the unit’s trademark maniacal melodic side to commandeer the bastardized blitz (“I Will Return”, “A Selection Unnatural”).

Despite claims by some who lament about the band being a bit stagnant (“interchangeable” seems to be a buzz word flying around regarding this band’s output), TBDM continues to dole out a brutishly consistent strain of metal that does a stellar job of unleashing the beast in us all.

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"Unhallowed" (Metal Blade; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Just when I think the melodic death metal genre has run its course I am always surprised by a new band or two coming down the melodic death metal pike. It is important to note that the stalwarts of the melodic death metal genre have moved on from the style's origins; In Flames are pushing the boundaries with modern elements, Soilwork are delving deeper into the contrast of super-heavy verse riffs balanced by sugary sweet choruses, Dark Tranquility continues to evolve and embrace change without abandoning the genre's core sound, and The Haunted continue to carry the mantle of At The Gates in a more thrash-oriented direction. Hell, even newcomers like Finland's Mors Principium Est are taking the genre, blackening up a bit, and calling it their own.

Now American bands are picking up the classic melodic death metal sound and providing their own subtle twists: the primary example is the Washington, D.C.-based Darkest Hour as leaders the of the American melodic death metal charge born of hardcore origins. Now it's time to add The Black Dahlia Murder to the list. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan (which is better known for the production of cars, not the spawning grounds of metal bands), The Black Dahlia Murder unleashes "Unhallowed" by crafting their own and exuberant stamp on the melodic death metal genre.

"Unhallowed" is the major label debut for The Black Dahlia Murder. The ten tracks of "Unhallowed" mine the classic At The Gates sound. The songs are short and crisp - just what the style needs for maximum impact. The guitar riffs are rapid-fire strobes hitting the synapses of your brain while occasionally mixing in melodic runs and drawn out chordal bursts. The vocals are a bit broader in the sense that The Black Dahlia Murder employ typical grunts and color it with some high-pitched rasping and very low-pitched growls. Also, if The Black Dahlia Murder has any hardcore origins or influences in their music they are not readily identifiable on "Unhallowed."

Specifically, fans of At The Gates and most early-era second-generation Swedish melodic death metal bands are required to check out The Black Dahlia Murder. Generally, any fan of high energy metal would be wise to sample the band's music.

"Unhallowed" was produced by The Black Dahalia Murder and Mike Hasty. Solid and clear production helped earn this disc high marks.

The Black Dahlia Murder is Trevor Strnad on vocals, John Kempainen on guitars, Brian Eschbach on guitar and vocals, David Lock on bass, and Cory Grady on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.