The Black Dahlia Murder - _Nocturnal_
(Metal Blade Records, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (6.5 out of 10)
Had the brothers Bjorler somehow managed to patent the At the Gates songwriting blueprint way back when, they'd probably have packed up and resettled on the late Marlon Brando's Tahitian island by now. For with the obvious exceptions of Black Sabbath, Metallica and Slayer, very few acts continue to loom quite as large over metal's landscape, and the trend shows no sign of dissipating anytime soon. Still, credit where it's due; The Black Dahlia Murder may have plundered the musical tapestry of _Slaughter of the Soul_ and _Terminal Spirit Disease_ with fervour throughout their career, but in a sub-genre that's grown increasingly crowded, at the very least they've managed to set themselves apart by virtue of their sheer primal energy.

_Noctural_ is no different in this regard. An adrenalized onslaught spanning ten tracks, it indulges its thirst for melodic death metal's various hallmarks more feverishly than at any point in the band's back catalogue, but the vehemence with which it does so remains consistently admirable. So too does the band's technical delivery, which comes to the fore particularly on "I Worship Only What You Bleed" and "Climactic Degradation". Yet for all their many virtues, The Black Dahlia Murder struggle and ultimately fail to drown out the nagging feeling that their present modus operandi amounts to little more than supercharged Swedo-metal worship. It certainly doesn't make for unpleasant listening by any means, but whether it will find its way into your CD player in six months from now is another question altogether.


(article published 4/11/2007)

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