The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate (Metal Blade/Riot)

Whether achieving gold status with a DVD or being threatened with bum-sex by an androgynous retard, The Black Dahlia Murder are making serious waves at present. With Deflorate, the flood looks likely to continue.
Release Date: 
15 Sep 2009 - 8:30am

No matter how you look at it, you've got to fancy The Black Dahlia Murder frontman Trevor Strnad in a row against Marilyn Manson. Their recent beef, reportedly due to Stnrad refering to Manson as a "freak show" - a fair and valid point; surely almost a compliment - is clearly never going to amount to anything exciting. Obviously Strnad outweighs him by about 300lbs but that aside, his voice alone would make Manson burst into tears and run home to his mum.

Deflorate  is the fourth outing for the Michigan quintet, and my, haven't they grown up. Black Valor sets the breakneck pace, with Strnad's trademark screech and frankly ridiculous drumming from ex-All That Remains skinsman Shannon Lucas. The Black Dahlia Murder let you know very early on that this is not going to be a comfy ride. Mind you, what else would you expect from the chaps who brought you Statutory Ape and What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse?

There are some moments during Deflorate that border on melodic but let's not get too ahead of ourselves; this music is fucking heavy. Focus track Necropolis is clearly the most accesible and will find its way onto infinite cover-mounted free CDs but even this is brutality at it's finest. However, Strnad is kind enough to enunciate during portions of Necropolis to allow for a bit of a singalong. Nice.

A Selection Unnatural will be a hit with 1349 fans as there's no shortage of Scandanavian-sounding blasts. The chaotic violence of this and Death Panorama is unrelenting. Throw in some Corpsegrinder Fisher choruses in Denounced Disgrace and you're well on your way to one of the most evil albums I've heard this year.

This being said, The Black Dahlia Murder are not a one-trick pony. Thrones of Lunacy has some groove elements akin to recent DevilDriver work and, for me, is a standout track on the album.

The most surprising element of Deflorate is I Will Return. The final song is a formidable epic. Okay, it's five-and-a-bit minutes long, but after being repeatedly fisted in the colon in two to four minute bursts, this track feels like a lifetime. And fucking hell it's good. Combining flowing guitar solos and down-tempo drums with their traditional mind-fucking pace, I Will Return means what it says. These guys will be back, and they'll be back hard.

Deflorate is made of tunes that will get you drunk, beat you up, run you over, steal your wallet, grope your girlfriend, shit on your doorstep and ram a well-shined hobnail boot right up your arse. There are some metalcore breaks but nowhere near enough to satisfy any Caliban fans. As soon as The Black Dahlia Murder slow the pace, someone cattleprods the rhthym section and it all goes mental again, with axemen Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight given free reign to showcase their obvious talents and provide some pant-soiling solos as the album progresses.

Okay, there's nothing mind-blowingly original about Deflorate but the album shows an increasing maturity of The Black Dahlia Murder as a band. It's a natural progression from Nocturnal but still has the aggression and passion displayed in debut work Unhallowed. It's hard, fast, heavy and painful: just like the slapping Marilyn Manson will experience if he runs his mouth again.

The Black Dahlia Murder's Deflorate is out on 15 September on Metal Blade/Riot.