Published Apr 16, 2020The Black Dahlia Murder have become one of the most consistent bands in modern death metal with every album being a notch above their peers and they've done it once again with their latest and ninth overall full-length record, Verminous. While the album doesn't quite match up to their masterpiece of a last album, Nightbringers, this one still stands strong and shows them exploring some new territory with their songwriting.
The album launches with the devastating title track which follows their typical winning formula of mixing melodic death metal shredding with a bit of technical flare laced throughout. The album quickly moves into a more old school heavy metal approach with "Removal of the Oaken Stake" mixing between thrashy death metal riffs and galloping beats that would fit in with an Iron Maiden album — if it weren't for the guttural shrieking of vocalist Trevor Strnad.
This becomes a persistent thread throughout the record, which seems like a strange choice for a band who have been progressively working their way from mixing typical melodic death metal elements to technical death metal with a more brutal approach. Still, it works and shows they're planning on continuing to evolve their sound instead of rehashing the same old thing over and over again.
Tracks like "Child of Night" or "The Wereworm's Feast" straddle the line between soaring melodies that almost suit '80s hair metal while bringing nasty death metal brutality to even things out. "The Leather Apron's Scorn" is a prime example of how the band bring dirty chugging death metal together with classic heavy metal elements as the song walks back and forth between down low, churning guitars and new wave of British heavy metal-styled speed.
If the Black Dahlia Murder are aiming to change their style up going forward with these old school heavy metal styles mixed alongside crushing death metal, they wouldn't be the first — bands like Carcass or Entombed have done the same before — but it's a progression that feels smoother than their peers. Verminous acts as a solid testing ground for experimentation in the band's sound that works well and could be improved and perfected as time goes on. (Metal Blade)