Sound — 7
As the kick off to the Black Dahlia Murder's debut album, the two minute intro piece starts with distorted sounds and voices, and slowly breaks into a slow, trudging, tortured riff. But don't think slow for long; forty seconds later the true opener blasts out of the gate, entitled "Funeral Thirst". This speeding, twin guitar attack is the Black Dahlia Murder's choice weapon, along with the talented also-duel "death metal" and "black metal" vocals styles. After the first few songs conclude, one feels a definite repetition, much like many other metal bands in the vein of BDM. Rarely do they stop to take a breath, save for the opener of "Contagion" and the excellent "Thy Horror Cosmic". Even with an acquired taste for the extreme, many will find the sound on this album re-used in most songs. But after leaving the disc in for several days, it almost becomes hard to take out - even if it is repetitive at times, BDM do what they do, and they do it well. The vocals are intense, the guitars are fast and the drums are played with immense technicality. The production is also good, albeit a bit dry.
Lyrics — 8
Already established that the vocals are some of the best to surface in the mass of interchangeable metal bands, the lyrics are just as competent. Vocalist Trevor Strnad favorite topic would appear to be zombie bloodlusts and Armageddon, but it sure as hell fits the music well. The lyrics do not sound like they were written by a pre-pubescent teen outcast longing to fit in, but more, well, by a very pissed guy. For the moment the lyrics suit them well and are very well-written, but, like the music, repetition keeps the album from truly being classic.
Overall Impression — 7
For being a relatively new band (EPs were released previous to Unhallowed), the Black Dahlia Murder show more potential than 9/10 of the new bands hitting the scene. Their pure intensity drives this album, but their one-mindedness like that is also the flaw. Highlight tracks would be "Funeral Thirst", "Contagion", "Thy Horror Cosmic", and "The Blackest Incarnation". BDM know what they're doing on their instruments, how to write memorable lyrics and how to write solid songs. All they need to learn is how to do it with a little more originality and flair. That said, in a few albums, the Black Dahlia Murder may be unstoppable.