The Black Dahlia Murder has long been a band noted for combining technical death metal with melodic leanings without giving into the cliches and ruts of either style. The latest addition to their thus-far consistent catalogue is Verminous, their latest since 2017’s Nightbringers. The opener and namesake track “Verminous” reflects their carefully-refined musical balance at the outset, equal parts blasting, vicious technical metal and guttural, dual-guitared deathcore.
“Godlessly” swings more towards the tech-death end of things, featuring some impressively speedy drum work from Alan Cassidy and thick riffing from Brian Eschbach. “Removal Of The Oaken Stake” serves as a showcase for some colourful soloing from Brandon Ellis, as does the skull-crushing “Child Of Night” immediately after. The 6-string tastiness carries over to “Sunless Empire”, a track that brings out the melodic aspects of TBDM more than any other on the album so far.
The oddly-titled “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” lets Trevor Strnad explore his range of brutal (in a good, Metalocalypse-y way) metal vocality and includes an epic drums-and-guitar shred session towards the end as well. “How Very Dead” follows many of the same hard-hitting yet high-level and classy dynamics, leading into the thrashing chug- fest that is “The Wereworm’s Feast” and the subsequent acoustic interlude “A Womb In Dark Chrysalis”. Capping off Verminous is “Dawn Of Rats”, a final blast of, well, blasting and voluminous guitar-age, climaxing in a falling disintegration that ends with the sound of scurrying rats across the ground. Metal or what?
Verminous is an overall solid album from a bunch of guys hailed for making solid albums. It’s not necessarily a groundbreaking, pioneering release in the fields of death, melodic death or technical death metal, but it is a straight-forward, give-the-fans-what-they-want-and-cut-the-B.S type of record that is fully appreciated by the rank and file of true metalheads. The Black Dahlia Murder knows how to deliver the goods, and we can fully expect them to keep doing just that.