Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 9/18/2007
The Black Dahlia Murder
Right off the bat, I'd like to make you aware that I am a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, but far from a fanboy. I don't froth at the mouth for the prospect of new BDM music, but I dig it enough to check it out whenever they release something. They seem to be a somewhat polarizing band, but I lie somewhere in the middle finding a little something to extol as well as a little to criticize.
Nocturnal is the band's third full-length release for Metal Blade and their best work to date. These Detroit natives take a lot of flack for a lack of originality, which is understandable, but there are bands that have a lot less creativity that don't get crucified like these guys do. This album is essentially more of the same heavily Euro-influenced thrashy melodic death metal BDM has become known for, however the band have matured and improved over time, and from a writing and creativity standpoint are on the top of their game for this release.
First of all, the band is still quite energetic and in your face with a lot of their melodies, though this time around they experiment with a lot more layering and have also allowed more subtleties into their sound, as evidenced in the layered atmospheric choruses of "Deathmask Divine." Nocturnal features a higher quantity of solos that thankfully don't lack in quality exhibiting technical dexterity with a biting melodic edge. Trevor Strnad's high/low vocal attack is still in effect and the man sounds more forceful than before with more umph in the lows and a sharp rasp in the highs. BDM has always enlisted talented drummers and new skinsman Shannon Lucas is no exception to that trend. The dude blasts fast, hits hard, and does some really creative things with his kick drums.
While on the topic of the kick drums, the sound is a little more thin and weak than I'm used to hearing out of BDM, but the rest of the set sounds really solid. As always, the guitars sound absolutely huge. They're dense, crunchy, warm, and have a high level of clarity to boot. As with the guitars, the vocals feature more layering to them, which is a nice touch, adding to the more mature and professional feel of the album.
So once again, The Black Dahlia Murder have released another quality effort with an increased focus on musicianship and songwriting. While they aren't starting any revolution with Noctural, I think it's safe to say they've made enough improvements to win over some of their critics and please their existing fans all the more.
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