Michigan’s sons of shred The Black Dahlia Murder are back for LP number six in the form of Everblack. Blistering and chock full of double-bass and grinding guitars, Everblack is an album that stays fairly true to the BDM formula while trying to be a little less sporadic in the process as songwriters. The middle ground unfortunately lies in the fact that while the album is impressive at times with its ability to reel you in via musicianship and flashy solos, the memorability is not quite as apparent as on the band’s previous outings. Even with that element not quite as prevalent, Everblack manages to uphold the Black Dahlia standard for musicianship while for the most part still being a fairly enjoyable death metal record.
If you’ve enjoyed these guys for their musical chops, be it through pulverizing drumming or searing melodies, Everblack delivers said elements in droves. More often than not, you’ll find your ears bombarded with uptempo death metal that simply doesn’t know when to stop. Whether it is the gritty “Goat of Departure” or the melodic slant of “Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn,” shred-lovers will find plenty to bask in on this record. That being said, the former has some sweet sweeping mini-riffs in the chorus that echo the main riff to make it one of the more enjoyable tracks of the bunch – the ‘six six six’ chant is definitely a nice touch as well. In this sense, Everblack does the death metal game quite well, mixing in a few slower-riffed monsters among the generally ferocious tempos of the disc from front to back.
Deeper into the record, it is mostly a game of similar textures from the band. Faster tempos dominate many of these tracks, a decision that seems to favor shorter melodic breaks and shift focus to the vocal aspect of these songs. But even as impressive as this record can be musically, the flow of the record seems to fall a bit flat as it moves from track to track. I often found myself losing track of what song I was on due to the resorting of similar structures on multiple songs. Pair that with moments where the band kicks faster tempos straight into areas where some tension and slower melodies would arguably do these songs a favor (“In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me”), and Everblack just really doesn’t do enough to really grab you outside of the whole fast riffs and aggressive vocals game. The moments where such drawn out melodies do surface feel stifled or restricted to just being solos in that letting them breathe a bit more would seem to make these songs flourish a bit more in the long run. I guess to be blunt – this record just doesn’t stick like previous BDM records have after a handful of listens.
Even with repeated listens, either I just expected more from Everblack, or The Black Dahlia Murder just seemed a bit more content with toning things down a bit in favor of having a stronger backbone in their tracks. Am I disappointed? A bit. But it certainly won’t steer me away from continuing to listen to these guys. Either way, this record doesn’t hail some sort of falling off for the band, but it does hopefully work out some kinks for future BDM writings.