Black Dahlia Murder - Nocturnal

10 songs
34:40 minutes
***** ***
Metal Blade


Detroit based The Black Dahlia Murder started in 2003 with a strongly Gothenburg influenced death metal album (Unhallowed) that didn’t differ too much from At The Gates. Their second release Miasma still had enough melodic death metal roots, but wanted to be more trendy and possibly more commercial by integrating typical metalcore vocals. The recipe didn’t seem to work out, so their new CD Nocturnal goes back to the roots.

If you are looking for an innovative death metal band, Black Dahlia Murder may still not be recommended to you. However, compared to former albums, there has been a lot of improvement, especially concerning the songwriting. Nocturnal has a more than adequate production, and melodic death metal fans should be delighted by the new Black Dahlia Murder. Especially speed freaks can’t find any arguments in missing this record. It only happens rarely that the musicians aren’t pushing the speed to the maximum; only the final, slightly slower Warborn is an exception by being the only track longer than four minutes. The most impressive moments on this record are offered by the fierce, but precise drum sound. The vocals veering from ugly screams to sick growls are also amazing. With speed having been so emphasised, the album’s masterpiece is the two minute short I Worship Only What You Bleed which shows in a short and radical way what modern death metal should be about.

I never hoped that Black Dahlia Murder would make such progress in the last two years. Critics may say that Nocturnal is in fact nothing else but another good melodic death metal, but Black Dahlia Murder’s songs are compact and come immediately to the point. Nocturnal doesn’t contain any below average tracks, and apart from The Absence, I can’t think of any other American band playing Swedish death metal in such a convincing way.

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