The Black Dahlia Murder is becoming a veteran band among this new wave of melodic American death metal/metalcore or whatever the hell you want to call it. To get this out of the way right away: I think that The Black Dahlia Murder has been treated unfairly by a metal community sad to see the disappearance of the old school metal guy anywhere except brutal death metal. Modern American metal has come to be dominated by short-haired, tattooed hardcore lookin’ kids who often have super diverse taste in music and have never donned a leather jacket or a goatee in their lives. These hardcore lookin’ dudes put on shows that have an energy that often times metal dudes lack in their own live performances, and they’re gaining notoriety with their blending of brutal death metal and stupid core breakdowns. The Black Dahlia Murder has been lumped in with these guys because of tattoos and plugs, but they are certainly not akin to these bands. No, The Black Dahlia Murder is easily one of the best melodic death metal bands the United States has ever produced and despite them sounding a lot like At The Gates plus blast beats, I think they do it very, very well and very consistently.
And consistency definitely describes Deflorate. This album is consistent in two ways: first, every track on it is of the same quality, which is saying a lot. The tracks are solid, groovy, highly melodic but not hyper-technical and definitely not unpredictable. They are heavy, fun to listen to and energetic. The drums are pretty much blasting or on the verge of blasting 95% of the time, the guitars are heavy, trem-picked and the vocals are characteristically The Black Dahlia Murder; a blend of death growls and black metal sounding shrieks. So the album is definitely consistent and worth a listen.
But Deflorate is not only consistent in terms of song-writing and production, it’s also consistent in the terms of The Black Dahlia Murder‘s discography. This is where the controversy could be about the band: any song from Deflorate could be interchanged with Nocturnal or Miasma and I don’t know that anyone would notice. The production, at least with Nocturnal is almost exactly the same and the song writing hasn’t really changed or progressed that much. I think the solos might be better, but that’s hard to judge. This is unfortunate, because while one wants a band to be consistent, there is a desire for variation and pushing the limits of a band’s sound that, at least some people, want. If you’re looking for The Black Dahlia Murder to progress, soften or change.. well, at all, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you’ve been a big fan of The Black Dahlia Murder‘s last records and you’re in for more of the same: congratulations, you’ve got yourself a great CD to buy!
Personally, I’m torn. Deflorate is an excellent record. Tracks like “A Selection Unnatural,” “Eyes of Thousand” and “I Will Return” (which I will admit is probably my favorite on the record: fucking excellent intro) stand out and, of course, rule. The album is paced well, short and sweet and the energy is amazing. I know, having seen these guys live a couple times, that these tracks will always be amazing live. But when does it become unnecessary to buy new albums from these guys? When do they fade into the obscurity of a band like Cannibal Corpse or Slayer that produced excellent records, but many people are of the opinion that all you really need to own is a Butchered at Birth or Reign in Blood and South of Heaven and you’ve pretty much heard their entire discography. As of now, I think these guys are on the top of their game. Line-up changes haven’t stopped them, I doubt that they’re going to sit around worrying about stagnation either: but they might want to think about it in the future. As it stands Deflorate is great, and comes highly recommended from this Angry Metal Guy.