The Black Dahlia Murder: Ritual
15/06/12 || Pr0nogo
Death metal giants The Black Dahlia Murder have slaughtered their way through the rank and file with their past albums, the most notable of which being 2009’s “Deflorate” and 2007’s “Nocturnal”, and “Ritual” is no exception. Members of The Black Dahlia Murder have proven once again that they are head-and-shoulders above their competition and that they can stand beside the biggest names in the death metal biz.
If you’re into death metal, but find something holding you back from obtaining “Ritual” – a problem I’d normally suggest solving by applying blunt-force head trauma via a frying pan – take into account that it’s the band’s fifth studio album, running for a decent time of forty-six minutes, and that the band has been able to focus all of their efforts and skills to produce this high-quality masterpiece of music. “Ritual” takes listeners on a journey they’re not likely to forget. This record is an evolution of the band’s sound in every aspect, from vocals to atmosphere.
The record’s opening track, “A Shrine to Madness”, begins with a soothing violin piece that leads into the controlled madness that is The Black Dahlia Murder. The first thing that struck me upon hearing the vocals off of this album is that they reminded me of an odd cross between Jonny Davy of Job For a Cowboy and Matt Harvey of Exhumed. Despite the influence between old and new death metal, I easily caught the old Black Dahlia vibe through a myriad of riffs, shrieks, and a solo here and there. It was obvious that something had changed, though. The sound seemed to come together in a way almost foreign to me – not necessarily good or bad, but merely different – and this is the major change fans of the band should recognize upon listening to this record. “Moonlight Equilibrium”, the follow-up track, is the abode to many an epic guitar riff, and lightly-edited shrieks punctuate each frame of the song, making it easily one of the most memorable songs off of the album.
“Carbonized in Cruciform” and “Blood in the Ink” are by far the most ambitious tracks off of “Ritual”, though, and not merely because they have added atmospheric beginnings to them. They take shots at the normal Black Dahlia formula, but instead of conflicting with their existing sound, you get a whole new thing that’s all kinds of epic. “Den of the Picquerist” is the album’s shortened track, going in line with the “Deflorate” track “Death Panorama” and the “Nocturnal” song “I Worship Only What You Bleed”. I wasn’t a big fan of these shorter tracks in the past, as I always felt it conflicted with the rest of the album’s sound, but “Den” fits this time around. “Great Burning Nullifier” lends well to the end of the album, while the aforementioned “Blood in the Ink” is a very satisfying closer, housing multiple solos for your enjoyment.
The Black Dahlia Murder has certainly evolved, but make no mistake – it’s still the same band. You’ll find reminders of “Deflorate” and the rest of the older records within the twelve tracks of “Ritual”, but the new content and sound they’ve allowed us to delve into really shows the band’s dedication to make great metal music. Any fan of death metal with a melodic flair and certainly any fan of the band itself will find this record to be easily one of the best releases of 2011.
1. “A Shrine to Madness”
2. “Moonlight Equilibrium”
3. “Carbonized in Cruciform”
4. “Great Burning Nullifier”
5. “Blood in the Ink”
- Released: 2011
- Label: Metal Blade Records
- Website: The Black Dahlia Murder MySpace
- Trevor Strnad: vocals
- Brian Eschbach: guitars, rhythm
- Ryan Knight: guitars, lead
- Ryan “Bart” Williams: bass
- Shannon Lucas: drums
- 01. A Shrine to Madness
- 02. Moonlight Equilibrium
- 03. On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood
- 04. Conspiring With the Damned
- 05. The Window
- 06. Carbonized in Cruciform
- 07. Den of the Picquerist
- 08. Malenchantments of the Necrosphere
- 09. The Grave Robber’s Work
- 10. The Raven
- 11. Great Burning Nullifier
- 12. Blood in the Ink