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The Black Dahlia Murder - "Deflorate" (CD)

The Black Dahlia Murder - "Deflorate" CD cover image

"Deflorate" track listing:

1. Black Valor (3:09)
2. Necropolis (3:30)
3. A Selection Unnatural (2:50)
4. Denounced, Disgraced (3:43)
5. Christ Deformed (3:30)
6. Death Panorama (1:54)
7. Throne Of Lunacy (3:34)
8. Eyes Of Thousand (3:13)
9. That Which Erodes The Most Tender (3:01)
10. I Will Return (5:34)

Reviewed by on September 22, 2009

"The Black Dahlia Murder crosses the Atlantic again on 'Deflorate' to pay homage to their favorite music."

The Black Dahlia Murder has been pounding out their brand of black metal since 2003. They combine Scandinavian melodic death metal with blackened thrash, which in of themselves are both combinations used to excellent effect. Their fourth full-length album, “Deflorate,” finds the band even more focused and just as uncompromising as on previous albums.

Clocking in at just 34 minutes long, the ten songs blow by at fantastic speeds. The hyper-sonic riffs and seemingly constant blast beats fire every song away like a rocket. But in turn, there is so much material packed into each song that the album feels like a marathon of brutality. Even “Death Panorama” crams multiple time signatures, guitar solos, and melodic sections into less than two minutes.

This straight ahead style makes the breaks from form even more compelling. On “Denounced, Disgraced” the band intersperses their trademark blast beats and fast riffing with syncopations that sound like the sludge of Black Sabbath. “Necropolis” begins with a mid-tempo thrash riff with layered blast beats underneath. The mid-tempo core melody remains throughout the whole song, and the juxtaposition of double and quadruple timed rhythm guitars and drums with the single-timed melody is fantastic. Even the guitar solo is restrained, and at times it could even be called slow. “Necropolis” is like a quarter horse lined up in the blocks, raring to burst through the gate, but not unleashed quite yet.

The band cranks their blackened thrash in this manner through with absolute glee. The energy of the music is fantastic; it is heavy and brutal of course, but doesn’t drown under its own weight. Each song, while frenetic, has enough room to develop and breath. The band doesn’t try to do too much with each piece, instead opting to pick one or two musical ideas for each and explore them, rather than flying all over the place. And the production (done by the band along with Mark Lewis of Deicide and Jason Suecof of Job for a Cowboy) is clean but not overwrought either, allowing the music to speak for itself.

The only departure is the last song, “I Will Return.” While it is based on The Black Dahlia Murder’s standard formula, they move much more toward the melodic death metal side, rather than just taking touches of it. The first riff is strong and broad with a tremolo picked melody, the guitar solos are layered, and there is even an outro solo. This brief glimpse through The Black Dahlia Murder’s other doors is a well-done tease.

The best part of the whole album, however, is it never falls into the current American metal formula. The melodies stay tough, there is nary a clean vocal to be found, and the good cop and bad cop never show up. It is quite refreshing for a bunch of American boys not to get drawn in by the siren.

The Black Dahlia Murder crosses the Atlantic again on “Deflorate” to pay homage to their favorite music. They don’t stray at all from their successful formula off their first three albums, nor have they really added anything new. That is perfectly fine, as they are laser-focused on playing a fast, heavy, and completely uncompromised style, and they clearly have a great time doing it. Their conviction is infectious.

Highs: The blackened thrash is precise, heavy and well-written.

Lows: The songs all come from exactly the same place, which is a small quibble.

Bottom line: The Black Dahlia Murder knows their job, and they do it well.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)