Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Album Year: 2013
There are not too many bands who never release a bad album. It is incredibly rare for a band to release album after album and have none of them considered awful. Usually, every band has that one horrible album, even some of the greatest metal bands ever. Iron Maiden had Virtual XI, Morbid Angel had Illud Divinum Insanus, and Metallica had every album since The Black Album. But some bands never have that bad album. Bands like Death, Mastodon, and Gojira instantly come to mind. There is also one other band who has never released a bad album and that same band happened to release the best album of 2013. That’s right, it is the kings of melodic death metal, The Black Dahlia Murder.
I honestly did not think it was possible for BDM to do better than their previous release, Ritual, which is the quintessential BDM album in my opinion. That album had everything; great riffs, great lyrics, great solos, and more. Keeping with their tradition of releasing an album every two years, BDM released Everblack on June 11. To be honest, I was at first put off by the band’s first single from the album, which was “Into the Everblack.” It is not that I did not like, it was just that it was so different from anything from Ritual. The song was so incredibly hopeless and bleak with lyrics such as, “Into the everblack/from where there’s no coming back/six feet below the earth/rotting food for the fetid worms.” The overall music of the song was also different in that it was not your typical fist-bumping BDM song. The song was insanely evil sounding and it grew on me real fast.
For the most part, the rest of the album is in this manner. Everblack is the darkest album BDM has ever done and for some people, it is a turn off. It has more black metal influence than any BDM album before. While the album is mostly dominated by these darker sounding songs, there is still a few songs that are classic melodic tunes like “Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn,” “Control,” and “Blood Mine.” Instrumentally, the band has never been better. Ryan Knight is cranking out solos on every song and it fits perfectly with each song. Brian Eschbach continues to be solid at rhythm guitar. Everblack was also the first album with new members, Max Lavelle and Alan Cassidy. It was a difficult task to replace Ryan Williams and Shannon Lucas but Lavelle and Cassidy filled into their spots perfectly. Cassidy had some of the most incredible drumming I have heard all year. Listen to “Into the Everblack,” or “Every Rope a Noose,” and just focus on the drumming.
I believe everyone knows about vocalist Trevor Strnad and his way with words. If you do not know let me fill you in. Strnad is a former English major and he knows how to write jaw-dropping lyrics. Everblack is no different. This is one of the few albums that I could read the lyrics to all day long. As a Journalism major myself, I actually take influence from Strnad when writing stories and essays in school. It is incredible to learn something style-wise in an English class at school and see it in Strnad’s lyrics. An example is his use of metaphor in “In Hell is Where She Waits for Me,” with “Her silhouette an hourglass whose sands of time would empty fast.” The subject matter on this album is also tremendous with songs that talk about things such as the anonymous murderer of Elizabeth Short as he overlooks her funeral, the vine rape scene in The Evil Dead, or of vampires below the earth’s surface harvesting humans for their blood.
Everblack wowed me from the word go and it has not stopped six months later. Every time I listened to it I found something else that I like about it. I cannot even imagine how BDM can top this on their next album but they can definitely accomplish it. The Black Dahlia Murder ruled over all in 2013 with Everblack and is the greatest album in the already storied career.