Black Dahlia Murder CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Black Dahlia Murder CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers
Dec 12, 2007, 02:57

The Black Dahlia Murder - Nocturnal


Metal is the most misunderstood genre in music today. The term is often coupled with sweaty, dull, thick-skulled, fist-pumping tools that have more hair than brains. It is not unfounded, though, as you scan the pages of music magazines and see the representatives of modern metal plastered and glossy over the pages between the likes of Beyoncé and John Mayer. With these bands, the ferocity is gone, as is the danger. While not necessarily reaching the heights of Linkin Park or Korn (ah, those krazy misspellings…shallow jerks), The Black Dahlia Murder can definitely be lumped in with these purveyors of stale, forgettable, and damaging, if only to the genre itself, metal.

The music, deemed melodic death metal, starts out fast and flat with everything coming in as one. This is Bay Area thrash circa 1991, not death metal. As “Everything Went Black” continues—and the rest of the record for that matter—a formula becomes apparent: Verse/Chorus/Verse/Bridge. Is that why it's melodic? Yes. But that is also the reason that it is extremely boring. Everyone has heard this before, unless you are ten years old and delving into the expansive metal genre for the first time. Those kids have money and time, so it is my hypothesis that it is also those that put this album at #72 on the Billboard 200 in the first week of its release. Or maybe it is the sweaty, dull, thick-skulled, fist-pumping tools that have been waiting since their last outing, the equally disappointing Miasma.

Continuing through Nocturnal is tiresome, honestly. True metal represents all of the qualities of a thick slab of steel: heavy, stubborn, and only able to be destroyed with focus and special tools unavailable to the common man. Eventually it will return to the earth from whence it came, yes, but as far as the mortal man is concerned it will not be in their lifetime. According to that analogy, this is not metal at all but merely metallic. There are hints of it but the end product is so thin and pliable and transparent that the resemblance lies not in its immovable brother but rather a thin can that, after draining it of its contents, is merely thrown away to be replaced by the next flashy, fickle product.

It is not a case of musicianship for it is here that they excel. The guitars and drums lock into blast beats and breakdowns as good as anything currently being released. The vocals are even palatable with Trevor Strnad alternating between guttural growls and shrieking screams, and the fact that he never sings a clear note is relieving as well. Yes, they have the goods to make a great record, even a wonderful career. Then where is the problem? Taste, pure and simple. Everything is reheated, rehashed, and ridiculous. The pliability in the music reflects an unimaginative mind comfortable in being rather than being great. For this reason, they will continue to sell tons of records, play the biggest festivals, and never have satisfaction in producing a memorable record. [Metal Blade]

-Luc Rodgers

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