Sound — 7
I hope it's sunny where you are, because it hasn't lightened up one bit in The Black Dahlia Murder camp. The Michigan natives are clearly intent on staying pitch black all year round song titles like "Phantom Limb Masturbation" certainly don't scream summer blockbuster. The tracks themselves scream plenty of things though, so it's best to forget the context and consider new album "Everblack" as something that could have been released at any time. And in fairness to them, they've been notoriously consistent with their vicious, ghoulish metal over the years. They have no problem with sticking to a winning formula if people keep listening to it - even two significant personnel changes have failed to make them flinch.
The constant whirr of tremolo riffs and blastbeats can be quite taxing, and is not for the faint of heart nor, it must be said, for anyone who demands a great deal of variety. The dramatic title track runs up and down the diminished scale like a B-movie horror, while the aforementioned "Phantom Limb Masturbation" flirts with deathcore drudgery and the more melodic world of Gothenburg metal. With new members on bass and drums, the individual performances are absolutely immaculate and as technical as they've ever been. Watch out for some great lead work on "Every Rope a Noose" and a high note from drummer Alan Cassidy, as he breathes new life into the overused TBDM blast on "Goat of Departure."
Lyrics — 7
String-skipping, At The Gates-style riffing is barely even worthy of parody these days, so while this lot stick to that course their most unique quality undoubtedly comes from their frontman, Trevor Strnad. He lurches between highs and lows with violent, unpredictable split personality and wraps his mouth around the words so fully you can practically feel it. Without his twisted, gothic lyrics and captivating voice this band really wouldn't have a leg to stand on, especially commercially.
Overall Impression — 7
This album is a perfectly good take on an often boring style, but what value can be added on a sixth serving of more or less the same thing? Even if you have a particular taste for melodic death metal, The Black Dahlia Murder end up victims of their own consistency. Like most summertime entertainment, "Everblack" is highly polished and satisfying in the short-term, but very few risks are taken and this will ultimately struggle to stand the test of time against more creative competition.