THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER’S last record Nightbringers was an absolute masterpiece in my anything but humble opinion. And as each single from the new one Verminous (out now, Metal Blade Records) was released I could feel my excitement and anticipation reaching a fever pitch. I always do this when it comes to bands I love. I get super-hyped up; I can’t help it. Sometimes that hype is justified and sometimes it is not, depending on the band or album. Well I am happy to report that in this case the disc lives up to the hype. “Godlessly” was the first track to simultaneously grab my attention and my throat muscles, and opener/title track “Verminous” goes right for the jugular. A very nice one-two punch indeed!
“Removal of the Oaken Stake” is not only one of my favorites on this record but it has now become one of my favorite songs in the band’s arsenal. If and when we get live shows again I truly hope they bust this number out in a concert setting. Musically “Child of Night” feels like a painting brought to life, the guitars of Brandon Ellis and Brian Eschbach providing the sonic brush strokes, with Ellis delivering a very memorable lead. “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” is thick as all Hell, bassist Max Lavelle and drummer Alan Cassidy pushing ahead like Charon across the river Styx. On this and every other tune Trevor Strnad is doing some of his best vocal work, especially this one, and the harmonized guitar solos here sound incredible.
Dual harmony also opens “How Very Dead,” reminding us again just how fucking supremely talented this guitar duo is. Strnad employs some very deep growls and paired with the music the whole thing is like the right wine with the right kind of meat. Elsewhere “Sunless Empire” takes us on a rather melodic ride while staying heavy as fuck. Another winner for sure. You will also find that melodic touch all over “The Wereworm’s Feast.” It amazes me how a band can get the balance so perfectly right, but these guys manage to do it over and over again with ease. Closing the disc is “Dawn of Rats”, which is a bit different, but unmistakably TBDM. Blast beats, hearty screams, and crushing guitars abound on this final track.
I gotta say it, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have swung for the fences and connected once again, launching the ball 400 feet and over the wall. This is an excellent record from a band that has been doing excellent records for the better part of 20 years. So at this point it’s to be expected, right? There are so many adjectives I could use to describe Verminous: pummeling, crushing, abusive, abrasive, heavy, catchy…you get my drift. Let’s just say that you NEED this record in your collection ASAP, and don’t let anyone stop you from getting it. Will it be on many a year end Best Of list? Absolutely! Will it be on mine? Bet yer ass it will!! And I guarantee many of you will be foaming at the mouth once you hear it. So what are you waiting for? GO!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM