The Black Dahlia Murder's Ryan Williams Chats About New Album "Ritual"
Detroit metallers The Black Dahlia Murder have just dropped their fifth full-length album "Ritual," which has already garnered its fair share of rave reviews across the web (you can also check out Metalunderground.com's review here.)
Prior to the album's release, bassist Ryan Williams spoke with me about the band maintaining its core musical direction while trying to throw in new elements as well. In the interview below, you can find Ryan's thoughts on working with Jason Suecof, the ritualistic theme of the album, the band's upcoming tour with Cannibal Corpse, and even find some insight into why front man Trevor Strnad always seems to be missing his shirt.
xFiruath: Let’s head into the new album “Ritual.” Tell me a bit about your thoughts on the album and what’s different from the last one?
Ryan: I think we still maintained our sound but we added new elements. There’s two songs with some strings, there’s samples in between the songs, and the songs themselves are branched out a little bit from what we have normally sounded like. I’m really excited about it. I like all the songs and I think so far the critics who have heard it have liked it as well, so I’m just hoping our fans like it.
xFiruath: How did the writing process go for “Ritual?”
Ryan: We wrote it over the past winter. Basically we don’t really write as a group, mostly we write at home on Pro Tools and shoot files back and forth. Brian is really the main song arranger. If we have riffs we’ll get them together and send them over to Brian. He’ll arrange them and make them into something cohesive.
xFiruath: I’ve seen a couple of recording clips, and it seems like you guys had a lot of fun in the studio. How was that whole process?
Ryan: It was awesome, we worked with Jason Suecof again and Mark Lewis. We love those guys and they really know what we are going for and we sound like. They know death metal really well, so there’s no guess work by them. They know exactly we’re going for and it makes it really easy to work with them, and they are really cool guys. We have a lot of fun with them. Mark actually came up to Detroit to track drums and guitars here so we could stay at home while we were tracking. It makes it a little bit easier so you don’t have to be in a hotel or out of town. You can still go home at night and be in your bed. Then we went down to Audio Hammer and did the vocals and that’s when we brought in the string players on the album and did all the mixing.
xFiruath: The song titles and imagery seem to be going in much more black metal direction this time around. How does that tie into the lyrics and what made you guys want to go that route?
Ryan: I think Trevor wanted to make this album more of a concept album almost, were all the songs have to do with different rituals. There’s theme that runs through the whole thing and we’ve never really done an album that had a theme before. This one we tried to keep that stream of rituals running through the whole album.
xFiruath: Is there a music video in the works?
Ryan: Yeah, I think we’ll do at least one video for sure. Now that there’s not really Headbangers Ball or anything like that, the only real reason to do one is to put it on YouTube, which is still cool because people like to check that out. I think we record it in July so it will probably come out in summer some time.
xFiruath: Where are you headed out to tour in support of the album? I saw that you are heading out with Cannibal Corpse later.
Ryan: Yeah we’re going with Cannibal down to South America and that should be pretty insane. South America is always nuts so I imagine with Cannibal Corpse it will be even more so. We just came back from Europe and we’re going back to hit the summer festivals. After that we come home and have a couple weeks off and then start up the Summer Slaughter tour. That goes to most the major cities around the U.S. A bunch of good bands will be on that so that should be a good time.
xFiruath: What shows have you been to lately?
Ryan: I don’t go to too many shows. The last show I saw was Between the Buried and Me and that was awesome, I love those guys. They played for like an hour and 40 minutes and it was insane. Before that I saw Stick To Your Guns and Trapped Under Ice at a hardcore show, and that was fun. I usually see bands that I know or am friends with and that is fun, but after being out on the road non-stop it can be hard to motivate yourself to go see a show.
xFiruath: What’s on your musical rotation these days?
Ryan: I just got that new Obscura album and I’ve been listening to that every day. That’s how I go, when I get a new record I listen to it non-stop until I can’t take it anymore. Another band that Trevor turned me on to is a band called Beyond Creation.
xFiruath: I heard that you are into gaming. What have you been playing recently?
Ryan: Unfortunately I don’t really have a sick gaming laptop or anything, so when I’m not at home I’ve been playing Minecraft lately. I’m looking forward to playing L.A. Noire. I haven’t even got to see it yet, so I’m stoked for playing that one. There’s tons of games I’m looking forward to getting into once we have some time off.
xFiruath: You looking forward to the new Modern Warfare?
Ryan: Modern Warfare I get into a little bit, but I don’t really play my shooters on console. I prefer them on PC because I like to use my mouse. I’m playing Crysis 2 right now and I like that a lot. Supposedly that new Battlefield is going to be pretty awesome. I played Black Ops a bit and it was pretty awesome, but the level of competiveness online means you really have to put in a lot of time to get up there.
xFiruath: One of your fans wanted to know why Trevor has to be shirtless constantly. Any thoughts?
Ryan: I think he’s just hot man. He’s got a little layer of blubber there and he’s got to get that shirt off because he’s too hot.
xFiruath: Was there one specific band that made you want to get started in metal?
Ryan: The first band that really turned me on to metal was probably Converge. By today’s standards that might not even be considered metal, but that’s the first band I heard where I was like “man, that’s really crazy,” and that’s probably what started me in metal. The answer would be different for the other guys in the band though.
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