The Black Dahlia Murder have released their latest album, called Nightbringers. Nightbringers, the album, came out on the 6th of October via Metal Blade Records. It is the American death metal band’s 8th studio album since their formation in 2001.
Nightbringers is also the first album to feature Brandon Ellis on lead guitar. He replaces the popular, and talented, Ryan Knight. The rest of the band are vocalist Trevor Strnad and Brian Eschbach on rhythm guitar. The drummer is Alan Cassidy, and the bassist is Max Lavelle. Based on the single, the loss of Knight isn’t going to be felt with Ellis really stepping in and comfortably filling the void.
Check out our review of that first single, title track, Nightbringers here. It really raised the excitement for the full release so let’s see how it turned out.
Nightbringers, the album has 9 tracks on it in total and is around 33 minutes long. What you get on Nightbringers is just over half an hour of crushing death metal mixed with dollops of technical prowess, something that TBDM have always had at their core. You do get a sense that this is an excitingly modern album too, not just 30 minutes of rehashed heaviness. From the fade in intro of album opener, Widowmaker, you get a sense of growing urgency. It kicks in with blistering drums and a crunching riff before a deathly scream forces you to pay attention. As an opener, it is a ferocious start and that continues into Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake.
Fast drums bang out a catchy rhythm over a fast and complex sounding riff. Trevor Strnad is roaring out lyrics like he is possessed and the bass makes your bones shake before a sudden high pitched solo comes in and gives you a brief respite. Not for long though as the brutality comes rushing back in to hit you a few more times before the track ends. Nightbringers is a really heavy album but there is so much more than just crushing heaviness on the album.
Songs like Catacomb Hecatomb have a real groove to them as well, mixing nicely between out and out brutality and a strong head banging rhythm. More of that bass heavy groove comes on the single, Nightbringers and As Good As Dead. Strong riffing, viciously heavy beats and vocals mixed with moments of thumping groove aren’t all that is on offer though. Nightbringers also has some truly magnificent melodies, guitar leads and solos. They occasionally come across as eerie, bedded in amongst the fury in place on lots of the songs. On other occasions, they come out as an optimistic light shining through a dark cloud of aggression.
Kings of the Nightworld and As Good As Dead all showcase these melodic moments. Kings of the Nightworld has a strong melodic guitar intro before the crushing drums come in giving it the feel of a very good melodic death metal track. As Good As Dead has another great lead guitar melody at the start and a speedy, high pitched solo as well. Album closer The Lonely Deceased also has a wonderful soo in amongst some supremely brutal metal. A slower intro builds into a blood curdling roar which leads into some of the fastest, but still rhythmic, drumming on the album. A chugging bass, technical riff and splashes of guitar intricacy showcase all the different elements on the album, rolled into a perfect 5 minute track.
Make no mistake about it, Nightbringers is one of the best death metal albums you are going to hear this year. The Black Dahlia Murder have found a perfect balance of out and out aggression mixed with technicality and melody. There are so many compelling moments on this album – little splashes of melody, a solo, a blast of drums or a vocal line – each song feels like a bit of an adventure as you discover layers with each listen. Everything has it’s place though. Nothing feels forced. 33 minutes is quite short for an album but it is 33 minutes of near perfection. The Black Dahlia Murder have modernised their sound, and the genres, with one of the best albums of 2017.
You can buy Nightbringers for yourself from Metal Blade here. You can also pick up the album, the singles and more from the band at the links below. Check out The Black Dahlia Murder on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information. Make sure you give them a like and a follow while you are there.
Nightbringers by The Black Dahlia Murder (Metal Blade Records)
- The Final Score - 9.5/109.5/10