Hey indie rock nerd, I’m a metal guy. I expect music to thrash, shred, and disembowel while you enjoy bands that sing about discos and crying in front of women. Do you even know the difference between grind and grindcore? That’s what I thought. So, Usounds has asked me to be your guide through the pitchblack caverns of pure metal brutality while you listen to Arcade Fire and drink some sort of ironic beer. The only problem is that today I’m reviewing The Black Dahlia Murder.
First of all, I’m not in the business of judging artwork but if you want to know what you’re getting into with Nocturnal, the band’s third release, check out the Vincent Price garage sale cover. Some spooky castle perched on a mountain with creepy gargoyles. That shit isn’t metal. I don’t need to see a human skull being crushed by a tri-horned demon or a woman clinging to the rippled thigh of a netherworld warrior, but this is something my mom would paint on velvet. And while that’s embarrassing the music isn’t much better.
To be fair, if you’re really into Art Brut, Black Dahlia will possibly make you shit your Diesels. Blast beats, alternating screams and growls, and shrieking guitar solos roll at a freight train pace the entire length of the record. The problem is that this exact thing has been done for the last 20 years (At The Gates, Carcass) and it’s never sounded so harmless. The production is crystal clear, eliminating the all important noise aspect and shaving off any edge the band may have had. And even then every song still sounds the same. At one point I thought I was listening to “Deathmask Divine”, and it turned out to be “Climactic Degradation” the whole time.
So yeah, Nocturnal isn’t good and I’m sorry. I really wanted to lead you on some sort of unholy journey through a valley of cursed souls, but instead I wrote most of this at an Arby’s and now I’m considering a nap. Next time I promise we’ll go burn down a church or carve pentagrams on our foreheads or something real exciting. You ever heard of this band Slayer? We’ll check them out next time, Trust me it’s going to be fucking awesome.