Sound — 8
I was introduced to Black Dahlia Murder a couple of years ago by a former co-worker who is also a guitarist. I bought "Ritual" straight away on his recommendation and I have to say I was both overwhelmed and impressed as another UG user below me commented. I think Ritual is a great album from a technical & speed perspective but the songs didn't seem to stick in my head as well as other albums I bought that year. "Everblack" maintains some of this speed but has riffs that really have me wanting to replay the songs immediately to get more. Some of the lead guitar parts make me think of other bands like Dethklok or Dimmu Borgir when I close my eyes, and seeing as Black Dahlia Murder could be lumped in the same genre with both of those bands, that might be why. I've seen people criticize this album for not being anything new, but as another user commented; that's not always a bad thing. It's a solid record with a lot of crunchy guitar with some melodic leads, vocals that are all over the place and some pace changes to keep you on your toes.
Lyrics — 7
When I first saw song titles like "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn" and "Phantom Limb Masturbation," I couldn't help but think that the band was just trying to go for shock value and the lyrics will have nothing of value. I have to admit I was wrong. "Dense dark forest dismal fog a spectral force perverts these woods flight prevails frantic escape the unearthly horrors at each turn they wait wandering roots they creak and move slithering toward what mortal life intrudes terrified eyes opened wide ensnare her flailing limbs to the earth they are tightly tied." While lyrics like these aren't exactly metaphoric, they paint a picture in a more elaborate way than the title would suggest. It would be good poetry for those who like to read something dark every now and then. Regarding the vocalist, the range is pretty incredible. Again somewhat similar to what Shagrath brings to Dimmu Borgir. Very high highs, and very low lows. Most metal vocalists I'm acquainted with have one range that they stay in. Trevor Strnad shows that he's flexible and is able to deliver consistent power in his delivery, even after 6 albums.
Overall Impression — 8
While this album sounds like ones they've done before, or even like ones from other bands in the same genre (like Dethklok, Dimmu Borgir, Destroyer 666), I don't see that as a bad thing. I embrace that kind of music, and "Everblack" is an album that I can see myself popping into my car stereo again and again for routine listens. "Ritual" is a good album, but not one that I can say the same of. I've only been able to give the album a few good listens thus far, but my favorite songs have got to be "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn," "Phantom Limb Masturbation" (as embarrassing as the names are to say to a friend who isn't into these types of bands) and "Control." I'd certainly buy the album again if it was lost or stolen, as once again; it's something I could listen to casually on a loop, rather than only being able to pick out one or two individual songs that I like and the rest I could take or leave. For those of you who consider yourself metal connoisseurs, is this album taking Black Dahlia Murder to new technical or experimental territory? No. But I don't like focusing on what the album isn't, I like focusing on what it is. It's a well paced metal album with some catchy tracks, crunchy guitars with well written leads and solos underlined by a fast drummer, a flexible vocalist that delivers a lot of power, some slightly above average lyrics and even some kick a-s album art. I'm happy I laid down money for it, and I'd do it again if needed.