(In my best Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voice) Finally!! The Black Dahlia Murder!! has come back...to your stereo!! Yes Waiveriders, The Black Dahlia Murder is back! Detroit's resident death metal superstars bring you their new album Ritual. I've been waiting to get my hands on this album for months and now it is finally in my possession. Excited, yes I am!! Ritual is the 5th studio album from The Black Dahlia Murder and damn it is epic as fuck!
Before we get to the awesome music, let's touch on the awesome cover art. Back in the day, (when I purchased cd's every week) I would stumble into my local record store and buy metal albums based on how “cool” the album art was. If I was 16 again and saw Ritual on the shelf I would definitely be picking it based on cover alone. The amazingly talented Valnoir Mortsonge is the man behind the epic artwork. Some of you may recognize his work on passed Watain, Morbid Angel and Ulver albums. The cover to Ritual is made to look like a demonic book. Complete with Satan himself and your fair share of pentagrams and other demonic imagery. Awesome!
Now on to the music. “A Shrine to Madness” gets the death metal party started. “A Shrine to Madness” starts off very melodic. At the 53 second mark you are hit with the opening guitar lick and soon follows Trevor Strnad's unmistakable vocal structure, a combination of black, death and guttural vocals. Overall a great opening track.“A Shrine to Madness” flow seamlessly into “Moonlight Equilibrium”. “Moonlight Equilibrium has by far the most “classic” feel to it. It is very reminiscent of their early work but you can hear former Arsis axeman Ryan Knight's contributions clearly.
“Conspiring With the Damned” is by far my favorite track on Ritual. When Trevor screams, “CONSPIRING WITH THE DAMNED!!!”, it instantly sends chills down your spine. This song clocks in at just under 4 minutes. If you get a chance to listen to just a few tracks of this album, “Conspiring With the Damned” has to be one of them. This song has it all. Trevor's amazing vocal presence, Shannon Lucas' unrelenting drums, Ryan (Don't Call Me Bart ) Williams' signature bass style and Ryan Knight and Brian Eschbach's dueling guitars.
There is something about the 7th track on albums. The theory I have is it's always one of the best tracks on album. I don't know, listen to any of your favorite albums, I'm sure number 7 doesn't suck. “Den of the Picquerist” is no different. This song is awesome, it's almost punk like in how short it is. Clocking in under a mere 2 minutes. It has the urgency of a punk song with all the melodic death metal tendencies you would expect from the band.
The Black Dahlia Murder have been around for quite a few years now. It seems as though they are constantly one -upping themselves in terms of musicianship. They progressively get better and better with each album they put out. Always trying new things. Ritual is very much all of those things. Musically it's a great album, and there are lots of new things on the album. One, the much higher screams Trevor hits and Two, the addition of Ryan Knight. You really get the feeling they put there all into the album and it shows on all 12 tracks. If you are an old Dahlia fan or this is your first time hearing about them, you should definitely pick up Ritual.
This is an awesome year for metal! Ritual is one of the many great albums being produced this year. I'm personally looking forward to the new The Faceless album and The HAARP Machine. Get excited!
Oh and go check out this years Summer Slaughter Tour, a bunch of great bands will be on it. Including: The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, Darkest Hour, Six Feet Under, Dying Fetus, As Blood Runs Black, Oceano, Power Glove, and Fleshgod Apocalypse...shit's gonna be sick!