Resting on Their Laurels
The Black Dahlia Murder is one of the most well known bands in extreme metal. Taking their name from the notorious 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, they formed 13 years ago and have since then created a handful of full length albums. Oftentimes, they are characterized as a melodic death/metalcore band, which is a fair characterization when taking into account their distinct vocal and riff style. Their songs feature fast-paced tremolo picked riffs and angrily shouted vocals. With the release of their new album, Everblack, the band has released a work that even their diehard fans might find to be lukewarm at best.
To start, the album does have positive aspects that contribute to an enjoyable listen. The guitar solos throughout the album are technically mind-blowing and extremely well-played. Sweep picking patterns, arpeggios and whammy bar action dominate the solos, giving the music a furious and jaw-dropping quality. The drumming is also extraordinary to say the least, characterized by a deadly combination of blast beats, drum fills, crash cymbals, and rapid double bass. The finest moment on Everblack is undoubtedly the closing track, “Map Of Scars”, which features strong riff ideas, brief ambiance, and a ripping guitar solo.
Unfortunately, the negative aspects are just as overpowering. The biggest problem is the lack of musical appeal. One wouldn’t need to go far to find other metal albums that accomplish what Everblack does by the same degree, or even better. It’s not particularly interesting to sound like a million other metalcore albums, or even like previous Black Dahlia releases. Overall, the album sounds mundane, repetitious and just plain uninspired. The songs all seem to sound the same, and when an interesting quality is found, it isn’t spotlighted or prominent. A prime example is the track “Every Rope A Noose,” where a great acoustic riff is found in the last 30 seconds before fading out.
Overall, Everblack is a work which contains great aspects amongst a range of conspicuous downsides. If lack of originality isn’t particularly bothersome to you, this album comes highly recommended. However, those looking for something remarkably special should steer clear of this album.