Review: The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual



The Black Dahlia Murder aren’t just extreme, they’re practically absurd. These five goofy Michigan metalheads don’t write songs about vampires, they write about Castlevania. They don’t dedicate track to sinful decadence, they write paens to neon. Hot on the heels of 2009’s Deflorate, not to mention their hilarious Majesty DVD released earlier that year, the Black Dalia Murder have returned with another over-the-top opus, Ritual, an inexhaustible bout of melodic death metal that juggles more influences than most bands can name and balances effortlessly somewhere between Pantera, Suffocation, and Darkane.

Every song on Ritual has its own atmosphere and pace, all overdriven and overwhelming but still genuine in feeling. The slow grind of “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood” reeks of cloudy skies and brine, while the unstoppable “Den Of The Picquarist” is all flying droplets of gore. The guitar work here is innovative as it is searing, with axmen Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight whirling and weeping through cruel riffs and otherworldly solos. Vocalist Trevor Strnad’s harpy shriek is downright fearsome, and his lyrics, especially on anthems like “A Shrine To Madness” and “The Graverobber’s Work” (“From the dead man’s bank and trust/To the depths of Hell or bust”), are wry and poetic, littered with brilliant nonsense words (as displayed in song titles like “Malenchantments of the Necrosphere”).

Folks like to hate on the BDM, labeling them part of the problem because they use neon colors on their T-shirts, but death-metal fans who want something different and exciting need look no further. CHRIS KROVATIN

Check out “Moonlight Equilibrium” from Ritual below:

  • Tyler

    Ryan Knight is the lead guitarist, not Brian.

    • Snoogans122

      Brian writes all the music though, Ryan comes in and learns his parts then adds a solo. So yes he’s technically lead guitar, but Brian is the brains behind the music…

      • Sebz

        Not true, this is the first album with Ryan working together with Brian on the writing process, it has been said that Ryan actually wrote 50% of the material on Ritual. 

        But you’re not totally wrong, Deflorate was the work of Brian, and Ryan just added his solos. 

        • john

          also not true, ryan came in late but he still wrote throne of lunacy and i will return

          • Adamduncan48

            Helped write if u wan be super technical

  • Vince

    This is a very half-assed review.

  • Vince

    This is a very half-assed review.

    • Tevictoriadelaguardia

      hahahahahahahahaha so tr00ue

  • Guest

    Pantera?  Wtf, I don’t really hear that in there but whatever.  This album is def in the 4/4.5 range so at least he didn’t screw that up. It’s one of the best albums this year so far.  Anyone else got suggestions for album of the year?

    • Dompropat

       Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst the Ashes

  • Brokeblvd

    Thsi cd is beyond good. There’s a few problems i have with it though. It doesnt seem to flow from song to song very well. I dont think they could or any band for that matter, ever put out a cd as good as nocturnal. That cd was flawless

  • Stinkpinkerton

    While keeping their roots well intact, this band has definitely grown some new branches and since i’m fairly certain that it’s become illegal for bands to evolve into better bands (due to the seemingly near extinction of said phenomenon), I have to commend TBDM’s audacious approach and rebelious refusal to adhere to the current trend of downhill discographies.