There are very few constants in heavy music, whether it be with band lineups or overall sound. One of those few constants dating back to 2003, was the The Black Dahlia Murder would release a new album of bangers every 2 years. After the release of Nightbringers in 2017, the band continued to be one of the dominant forces in death metal. The addition of Brandon Ellis on lead guitar proved to be a solid addition, but THREE years have passed and gone is the streak of breakneck output. The time away was well spent, because The Black Dahlia Murder’s ninth album in Verminous is a technically brutal 35 minute punch in the ears.
The current lineup has been intact since 2016 and they are certainly firing on all cylinders, the rhythm section of Alan Cassidy on drums and Max Lavelle on bass remains one of the most impressive duos in metal. Cassidy alternates between breakneck speed blast beats and groove double kick accents with ease, while Lavelle keeps up with founding member Brian Eschbach’s rhythms and Ellis’ dizzying solos. Frontman Trevor Strnad’s vocal stylings are the strongest they’ve been on record, both his throat shredding highs and guttural lows cut through the mix with ease.
Tracks like “Godless” and “How Very Dead” are faster paced riff explosions while “Child Of Night” and “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” feature groovier chug heavy rhythms. The anthemic nature found in Strnad’s lyrics are a newer addition to the band’s sound, but don’t think I’m talking about clean vocals. The powerful bridge line in Child Of Night will definitely be a crowd favorite whenever the fuck we can go to concerts again:
Succumb to us
Under the burning sign
Overall, longtime fans of The Black Dahlia Murder need not worry as Verminous is another solid addition to an amazingly consistent discography. The production is top notch with drums recorded by longtime ex bassist Bart Williams and the rest of the record tracked at Brandon Ellis’ home studio. Mixing duties were handled by Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, Suicide Silence, The Haunted) and the results are crushingly heavy and modern without being overly polished and slick. The album drops at midnight EST via Metal Blade Records.