Tuesday, 22 November 2011

CD Review: Deflorate, by The Black Dahlia Murder (2009)

The Black Dahlia Murder are the equivalent of an adult entering a kids' bouncy castle: there is a lot going on, some of it looks like fun, there are colours everywhere, a lot of energy is released, but maybe not much of the experience is memorable enough. A jump is a jump, after all.

The Michigan band's fourth album, Deflorate, offers ten tracks, and nine of them clock in at under four minutes. The Black Dahlia Murder pack all their melodic punk death metal ideas into compact packages: elaborate structures and gradual thematic evolutions need not apply.

With such limited attention spans, the band has a brief opportunity to make a good impression on each track, and to their credit, most of the material holds together reasonably well. The band's enthusiasm is infectious, Trevor Strnad's vocals alternating rapidly between the squeal of a squirrel being squished under the tires of an 18 wheeler and the growl of a wannabe bogeyman. Meanwhile the guitars of Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight are perpetually on fast-forward with the occasional manic solo, while Shannon Lucas pounds the drums with a merciless barrage of blast beats.

As often happens with bands fixated on speed, Deflorate sounds best when the brakes are ever so briefly deployed, and the melodies are given an opportunity to breathe. Necropolis benefits from a more thoughtful and weighty foundational riff, although Lucas does his best to make up for the more deliberate guitars with even faster drums. That Which Erodes The Most Tender Of Things has a title almost longer than its length, since its gone in 3 minutes flat, but manages in those 180 seconds to develop a sharply cute staccato melody that stands out from the crowd.

Elsewhere, opener Black Valor and closer I Will Return, the latter carrying a mammoth length of more than 5 minutes, provide enough definition to overcome the otherwise incessant cacophony. The Black Dahlia Murder undeniably have a lot of fun, and make a lot of noise, in creating their brand of concentration-challenged metal.


Brian Eschbach - Guitars
Ryan "Bart" Williams - Bass
Trevor Strnad - Vocals
Shannon Lucas - Drums
Ryan Knight - Guitars

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Black Valor - 8
2. Necropolis - 9
3. A Selection Unnatural - 6
4. Denounced, Disgraced - 7
5. Christ Deformed - 7
6. Death Panorama - 7
7. Throne Of Lunacy - 7
8. Eyes of Thousand - 7
9. That Which Erodes The Most Tender Of Things - 9
10. I Will Return - 8

Average: 7.50

Produced by The Black Dhalia Murder, Jason Suecof and Mark Lewis.
Mixed by Jason Suecof. Engineered by Mark Lewis. Mastered by Alan Douches.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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