Sound — 10
The Black Dahlia Murder's sound has progressed to a point where it straddles a nunber of different strains of death metal. They combine strong, dark swedish melodeath style melodies with some great chugging rhythm riffs. The guitar work is sensational throughout on Nocturnal, with the solos being a particular high point. They have actual peaks and valleys of emotion, and I find them to be very unique and pleasing to the ear. They're the kind of solos that you only need to hear a few times to think 'man, I leed to learn this!'. While it's not particulary groundbreaking stuff, TBDM's sound has character and individulaty - something that you need to have in order to stand out from the swamp of identikit death metal and deathcore bands. Put simply, this album is brutal but catchy.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are almost comically morbid, but I like to see a band that don't take things too seriously. The songs are about fairly staple death metal stuff - death, suicide, sex - but they are presented in a particlarly artistic style that is amusing rather than shocking or repulsive. It's certainly not a parody, but they're not deadly serious either. The actual vocals of singer (and screecher) Trevor Stnard are, as you will probably know, much celebrated, as he goes from a low end growl to high screaming effortlessly. I can't decide whether it's the vocals or the guitar leads that win out on this album, as both are of an immense calibre.
Overall Impression — 10
Ignore anyone telling you that The Black Dahlia Muder are 'deathcore', or 'metalcore', as it simply isnt true. Nocturnal is a fantastic, virtually flawless 21st century melodic death metal release, and is possibly my favourite in the genre since the material released by At the Gates and In Flames during the 90s. This album is absolutely essential for seasonsed fans of this area of music, and could potentially act a superb bridge for newcomers to death metal as a whole.