When I first started getting into deathcore music, The Black Dahlia Murder was one of those top 10 bands that was popular and no one ever had anything bad to say about. I won’t say they were ever bad, I just wasn’t much of a fan of them. Well this has album changed that. Ritual is one of those mean, nasty albums that’s so good you can’t help but scowl when listening to it. Ritual isn’t a full-on deathcore album, although there are moments that have that sound. It’s more like a melodic death metal album with hardcore influences tossed in here and there.
Where to begin here… Every single track is killer; from the symphonic intro to the guitar transition that scares the piss out of you in “A Shrine To Madness” to the final onslaught upon your earhole in “Blood In The Ink,” this album is all killer and no filler.
“A Shrine To Madness” begins with a really soft symphony that feels like it’s slightly building up into the song, but when you least expect it the guitars and crash cymbals slam in and (may) startle you as much as it did to me. The drums, guitars, bass, vocals… okay everything flows very well here. As a new fan of Black Dahlia, I feel as though I will be pointing out things that every other fan already knows haha.
The guitars shred and I can best describe this as ominous death metal. The drums also tie in perfectly with everything, with versatile yet brutal playing and blast beats that don’t overshadow the guitars, which is a problem I see from time to time. The vocals alternate between lows and shrill screeches that give the whole album so much more depth. The bass stands out and can be distinguished from the guitars quite easily. I’m a sucker for bass, as I play it and always think that the bass is underrated. The guitar solo, although short, puts the point across that he isn’t anything to mess with.
“Moonlight Equilibrium” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s more metalcore than the previous track, being faster and slightly technical, but the fast progression doesn’t deviate from the opening verse, and still sounds completely new. I love the vocals and I can’t stress that enough. It’s mostly the higher-pitched vocals that just sound so evil. It’s no wonder that this was chosen as the first single for the album. The drums are on perfect timing and really keep the full momentum of the track. The guitar overlying tones provide a groove amongst the pure insanity.
“On Stirring Seas Of Salted Blood” is my favorite track. People throw around the word ‘brutal’ but they really don’t know how to properly apply it. Well this is one of those songs that will appear in the definition. The drop tuning, combined with slower, heavier riffs, makes your face melt right off. Unlike “Moonlight Equilibrium,” this track pretty much just sticks with the lows instead of the highs. It doesn’t really progress too much out of the range, but that’s a good thing. I’ve listened to songs where the really juicy parts are short, such as the song “Way Beyond The Fond Old River” by Sikth. This track is like that juicy part of a song extended into its own song.
“Conspiring With The Damned” is probably the most minimalistic song on the whole album, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less compelling and captivating. The beginning is a lot like “Moonlight Equilibrium,” but the vocals alternate more and the guitars kind of use a lighter tone and aren’t just played out generically. The next verse has heavier, headbang-inducing chords that are played over and over. However, the guitar solo at the end of the track is probably the best one on the album. It’s really different and sounds like nothing that should be on a death metal song. It would best be described as a fast, progressive solo. I wish that it would have lasted longer than it did, but oh well.
I could go over this entire album track by track, but I’m pretty sure you have the overall point I’m trying to get across. I love this album and I would suggest buying the hard copy so you can own what is sure to make music history. It has everything one could ever want in a metal album. Soaring guitar solos, brutal chords, bass you can actually hear, pounding drums that are up to par with other respected drummers out there, and brutal vocals that alternate between demonic, high-pitched shrieks and lows that will convince grandmas around the world that the end has come. BUY THIS NOW!!!