01. In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me
02. Goat Of Departure
03. Into The Everblack
04. Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn
05. Phantom Limb Masturbation
07. Blood Mine
08. Every Rope A Noose
09. Their Beloved Absentee
10. Map Of Scars
2013 Metal Blade Records
The Black Dahlia Murder has been unstoppable, dating back to 2007's Nocturnal. That was the record where they found their musical bearings, and though line-up changes have taken place several times, their music has gotten better as the years wear on. 2011's Ritual was a fantastic death metal album, one that took their sound and cast a wider creative net. It wasn't a major departure, but the slight dynamic shifts were welcomed. Their habit of releasing a new album every two years continues with the uproarious Everblack.
There isn't much experimentation to be heard on Everblack, as the band reverts to an unhinged stampede of noise. They've always had a "melodic" aspect to their sound, usually in the guitar work, and though that's still a factor, it's been scaled back a bit. The riffs have a deadlier crawl to them, and Trevor Strnad's screams are at a peak intensity. He roars in a high pitch, occasionally going low with a charismatic growl. The band seems pissed off, and it's not held back on these songs.
Over time, The Black Dahlia Murder has been able to extend their songwriting. Songs that were three minutes on average have moved to four or five minutes. An extra minute per song may be no big deal, but it is a sign of a band being able to flesh out riffs, work on momentum fluctuations, and expand on the lead guitar. If there's a vast jump anywhere, it would be with the solos. The band has obviously worked on the solos during the past few albums, and Everblack is the best result to date.
The band comes into this album with an entirely new rhythm section, including former Despised Icon bassist Max Lavelle and ex-Abigail Williams/The Breathing Process drummer Alan Cassidy. Though losing Bart Williams and Shannon Lucas was disappointing, the two new members fit into the band with no negative consequences. Cassidy hammers the hell out of his drums, and each song is a test of how much faster he can go. The two get some room to jam out on "Into the Everblack" and "Every Rope a Noose."
Except for some symphonic elements on "Map of Scars" and a way-too-brief acoustic outro used on "Every Rope a Noose," Everblack is as bull-headed as modern death metal can get. "Goat of Departure" is a brutal cut that follows up an ambitious opener in the excellent "In Hell is Where She Waits for Me." It's hard for any band to make a song titled "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn" catchy, but The Black Dahlia Murder pulls this off. Including the gang chants certainly helped achieve this feat.
Though Everblack isn't a groundbreaking album, it's another stellar record in a long line of them. Quality has not been a major issue for The Black Dahlia Murder, and Everblack keeps this tradition going. The band has found their groove as a melodic death metal act. There's always a chance that they'll get stuck in too much of a comfy spot, but if they keep handing out songs like "Into the Everblack" and "Map of Scars," they will have nothing to worry about.
Bottom Line: The Black Dahlia Murder continues their string of excellent albums with the uncompromising, yet judiciously melodic, death metal effort Everblack.