The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 06.14.11 in Reviews
Fierce and unremitting

Like Municipal Waste, S.O.D. and Gwar, the Black Dahlia Murder recognize the humor in metal, and can’t help but poke a little fun at the genre — hence song titles like “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood,” “Malenchantments of the Necrosphere” and “Carbonized in Cruciform.” It also explains why they’ve been discounted by some stern cult metal fans as unadulterated drivel. But make no mistake: Black Dahlia Murder’s music is no joke. Their fifth album, Ritual, is fierce and unremitting, incorporating a variety of styles including death metal, black metal, thrash and metalcore, and skillfully intertwining them without sounding like a skipping CD player. The glue that binds comes from guitarists Ryan Knight and Brian Eschbach, whose fills and solos range from ’80s shredders to Gothenburg-style melodic death dealers. But frontman Trevor Strnad is also a highlight, switching from guttural growls to blackened shrieks on tracks like “A Shrine to Madness,” “Conspiring with the Damned” and “The Grave Robber’s Work.”