The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual


Album

Ritual

Label

Metal Blade Records

Year

2011

For Fans Of

The Red Shore - Carcass - At the Gates

Summary

Ritualistically destroying all other metal bands.

Rating

89 / 100

Insert jaw-dropping response here. It’s that simple. Studio album number five from Michigan metallers The Black Dahlia Murder is an unrelenting, punishing and fierce listen that destroys any notions that suggest contemporary metal is tired and merely a re-working of previous styles. New full-length entitled ‘Ritual‘ is precise, driven and delivers like an aural tidal-wave. Yes, these are grandiose claims and perhaps excessive in praise as well, but even neutral observers will be onboard after an initial listen. It’s just hard to find a reason to suggest otherwise.

The band have been threatening for years. Each new release seems more well-rounded and progressed than the previous offering. ‘Ritual‘ is no different. Metal and particularly death metal can,at times, appear monotonous. Essentially, it is perceived as just fast and heavy with no real variation and discernible difference between each subsequent track. While this twelve track album fits with the aforementioned aesthetics there is subtle and understated variety, which gives ‘Ritual‘ a presence. The riffs and soloing are clear while the rhythm mixes throughout giving TBDM‘s sound an identity and a sense of uniqueness.

The continuity in the line-up inevitably manifests itself in the sound. The structure is confident and the music consistent. From the gang refrains in the tail-end of ‘On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood‘ to the violins in closer ‘Blood in the Ink‘ and the honest intro of ‘Carbonized in Cruciform‘, ‘Ritual‘ entertains and sustains its charm. There’s no need to overcomplicate or dig deeper, this is just what all listening experiences should be about. Enjoyment. Engagement. Positive Reaction.

As per usual, the lyrics are interesting in themselves. Please take it with a grain of salt, as TBDM are certainly not a band that practices what they preach. At least on a very literal level. "The heartless devils who’ve bound him here with malenchanments of the necrosphere, the end is near…his flesh collides, solider of solitude, of elemental pain, driven to insanity when stone turn his form became incarcerated." It’s so over the top that you can’t help but feel entertained. Of the remaining songs, ‘Moonlight Equilibrium‘ is crushingly solid while ‘Den of the Picquerist‘ borrows heavily from the Carcass style-book.

With the exception of a few select bands, it is hard to see anything even coming close to challenging this as far as 2011 is concerned. Up and coming metal bands, if you’re not aspiring to reach a level of proficiency as good as this then don’t even bother. Anything less will just come off as stale and inferior. Great listen!

Conclusion

There’s just something captivating, let alone endearing, about a group of collective musicians playing in such a confident and calculated way without coming across as arrogant or complacent. Just sit back, relax and enjoy a band at the top of their game. There have been some cracking albums so far this year, which rank just as highly, but in terms of traditional ‘metal’ this is definitely album of the year material. Now let’s see the challengers try and knock this off.

Tracklisting

1. A Shrine to Madness

2. Moonlight Equilibrium
3. On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood
4. Conspiring with the Damned

5. The Window
6. Carbonized In Cruciform
7. Den of the Picquerist

8. Malenchanments of the Necrosphere
9. The Grave Robber’s Work
10. The Raven

11. Great Burning Nullifier
12. Blood In the Ink

4 Responses to “The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual”

  1. Anonymous

    TRS pfft . . . has beens twice over. to mention them in the same sentence as Carcass & At The Gates is blasphemous, no matter what your religion is (if any). TBDM, however, is a different story. Keen.

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