The Black Dahlia Murder are back with their much anticipated new album Ritual. Since their formation in 2001 The Black Dahlia Murder have quickly become one of the best modern death metal bands. If you disagree, I do believe Ritual will quickly change your mind.
From the very beginning to the bitter end Ritual is an all-out relentless death metal assault. After the brief instrumental opening to “A Shrine to Madness” you immediately get pounded directly in the face with this attack, and it does not let up until the short instrumental outro to the last track, “Blood in the Ink.” It’s instantly apparent that this is the heaviest and blackest incarnation to date presented by The Black Dahlia Murder. Everything is absolutely flawless. The guitar work of Ryan Knight and Brian Eschbach is amazing. Technicality and proficiency such as this is rarely heard in any genre of metal these days. Solos? Complete insanity. The tracks on Ritual are laden with absolutely ridiculous solos. I mean that in the best way possible. Drummer Shannon Lucas maintains relentless drumming for the entire album utilizing blast beats and tons of speedy double bass. Even the bass work of Ryan Williams stands out on tracks like “Den of the Picquerist.” That is impressive in a music scene where the bass is constantly lost in the mix or just steadily runs alongside the drums without any unique touches to standout. It reminds me of At The Gates at times. Trevor Strnad sounds better than he ever has. I’ve always been a huge fan of his vocals, and he does not disappoint on Ritual. His death growls sound as if they’re coming straight from the bowels of hell, and his high shrieks sound like he may have taken vocal training from a banshee. Melody is also a heavy factor on Ritual, permeating throughout every track and really shining on tracks like “Raven.” “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood” sees that Floridian death metal sound creeping in and really giving it a classic feel. It sounds like something that would have been expected on the latest Morbid Angel album. It is really hard to say that any track stands out above the rest when each one is completely perfect. This is death metal as it should be. The Black Dahlia have truly cemented themselves as modern masters of the genre.
The Black Dahlia Murder show that they are not fucking around with Ritual. The album gives a nod to the band’s influences while throwing in their unique touches and completely tearing death metal a new asshole. This is hands down the best metal album I’ve heard in a long time. Disappointed by the newest Morbid Angel offering? Me too. Ritual has a cure for that.