Since releasing their debut album, UNHALLOWED, back in 2003, Detroit’s The Black Dahlia Murder has been functioning like clockwork – a new album and tour every two years. Do the math, and in 2015 they released their seventh full-length album and are already gearing up for another lengthy tour. Consider that the band has undergone a significant number of line up changes and their sonic consistency is even more remarkable.
Over the course of their albums, the band has slowly refined their melodic death metal sound without making wholesale changes. ABYSMAL then, will be instantly familiar to the band’s legion of fans. As a fan of the band since the debut, I anticipate it every time they grace us with a new album, but I admit to some hesitancy this time out Why? Well, I was blown away by 2011’s RITUAL, which to my ears is the band’s pinnacle. 2013’s EVERBLACK was a slight step backward from there, but I’m happy to say that ABYSMAL once again shows the band on an upward trajectory.
“Receipt” splits the album wide open with The Black Dahlia Murder’s trademark razor-sharp guitars and pummels away before giving way to melodic masterpiece “Vlad, Son of the Dragon”, who’s chorus and final verse build (“KILL THEM ALL!!”) grab me every time, despite 20+ spins. From there the album is a death metal feast for the senses, the band even incorporating (gasp!) the occasional stringed instruments (violin, cello, etc.) to add to their sound. No fear though – this isn’t “The Black Dahlia Murder Goes Symphonic”; it’s just little touches to the sound.
ABYSMAL has made me excited about The Black Dahlia Murder again. Fans of the band need this album – now! This is easily the one of the best death metal albums of 2015.
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