Abysmal is one of the releases I have been anticipating the most this year. The Black Dahlia Murder have continued to evolve and stretch the boundaries for their brand of melodic death, and while they’ve never been for the faint of heart, this continues on this new release. After repeated, daily listens, I can confidently say this album takes a different direction than it’s predecessor, Everblack. It’s a bit more melodic and perhaps a little less dark, boasting more in common with Miasma. Trevor Strnad‘s vocal approach is stellar, and he delivers the performance of his career.
“Receipt” opens with a brief string intro, then pounds into your psyche as only The Black Dahlia Murder know how, complete with blast beats and killer guitar riffs and solos. “Vlad, Son of the Dragon” continues the beating, complete with cool gang style background vocals. This song is sure to be a live favorite. The title track has an almost Gothenburg, almost black metal feel to it. Strnad’s vocals are seething and oozing with evil. “Re-Faced” has a really kick-ass vibe with the vocals playing a Jekyll and Hyde thing while precise guitar riffs play against them. “Threat Level No. 3,” my favorite here, interjects pure death metal segments with melodic guitar parts, and then bludgeons you in a style only The Black Dahlia Murder can deliver. “I hope this is as close to hell as I ever get” opens up the dark feeling of “Stygiophobic.” Stygiophobic is defined as the fear of hell, and I think the band addresses it well here. It’s ominous and oozes evil. “The Advent” has a really cool groove, with slower parts that are heavy as hell and a huge sounding chorus. “That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead,” the outro, is death metal adventure, featuring every single thing this band does well and forming the perfect ending for Abysmal.
The Black Dahlia Murder are proving, once again, that they are a force to be reckoned with in the death metal scene. I have had the pleasure of witnessing them live multiple times, and these new songs will fold perfectly into their live set.
Abysmal is out September 18 on Metal Blade Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):