Have you ever gotten yourself really excited and worked up for an album that was getting ready to come out only to have it in your greedy little hands and be disappointed? It has happened to me more times than I care to remember, but one specific incident was THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER’S last record Abysmal from 2015. Bear in mind I didn’t haaaaate it, I just felt that it didn’t live up to all the buzz and pre-release hype. Which brings me to Nightbringers, the brand new disc out October 6 via Metal Blade Records. How does it stack up against previous releases? Suffice to say THIS is what I was looking for…
Right away opener “Widowmaker” sets the vicious tone for what’s to come over the course of nine tracks and 34 minutes: bludgeoning riffs, pounding drums, and the unique vocal style of Trevor Strnad, who seemingly goes from high pitched screeches to deep, dark gutturals with ease. After that “Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake” throws everything in your general direction. Drummer Alan Cassidy, now on his third record with the band, bashes the shit out of his drumkit and your face in the process. The rhythm guitars of founding member Brian Eschbach mesh seamlessly with those of new recruit and lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. Remember his name, because you’re gonna be hearing it a LOT from here on out.
“Matriarch” is one of those songs that is musically and lyrically heavy. The subject matter is pretty intense, and the music is fierce as fuck. Bassist Max Lavelle is well and truly heard on this track, laying down thick lines that hit hard alongside Cassidy’s kick drums. Title track “Nightbringers” is no doubt one of the album’s best, with an off-to-the-races mentality in certain parts, while “Jars” might just be my absolute favorite on this disc, not only because the music rocks, but subject matter-wise it’s right in my wheelhouse. Storing human remains in jars so you can eat them later? Yes, please!!
“Kings of the Nightworld” is another fantastic tune, with the whole band clicking on this insane level from beginning to end. I don’t care what the band members or the label think, THIS is a song they must play live on all tours moving forward. “Catacomb Hecatomb” once again throws everything but the kitchen sink at you, and proves to be one of the more infectious tunes on the album. And then, oh my sweet Satan, comes “As Good As Dead.” Holy fucking wow, this song is aggressive as all get out, and has rows of razor sharp teeth rivaling those of a Great White shark. If you don’t wanna throw a TV or air conditioner out a window while listening to this one, you are dead inside.
Closing the disc is “The Lonely Deceased”, which is arguably the most unique song on this whole thing. Each member truly shines in his own way, and collectively the band just goes all in, then wins the pot. When it is all said and done THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have delivered a monster in Nightbringers. This is one fucking headcrusher of a record, and should be on pretty much EVERYBODY’S year-end Top Albums lists. And if any Death Metal fans don’t think this is one of the best discs this band has ever put out, well then they’re fucked in the head. Pick up your copy ASAP, drink beer, do shots, and go ballistic!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM