THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER – Verminous
This turned out to be one of my best musical decisions as this is possibly the Detroit, Michiganders’ best work to date. No longer content to be just a melodic death metal band, yet without abandoning the genre, Trevor Scott Strnad (vocals), Brian Eschbach (guitars), Brandon Ellis (guitars), Max Lavelle (bass) and Alan Cassidy (drums), pound you into submission with Revocation-ary/"Human" Death brutal death one minute (Godlessly, Child Of Night) and with Testament-ian thrash the next (title track, How Very Dead), giving you a blissful smile for melodic harmony a’la Darkest Hour or Hypocrisy (The Leather Apron’s Scorn, Dawn Of Rats) and these aren’t even the best tracks as they are all, without exception excellent, but only 3 are absolutely perfect (thus the score).
The three absolutely perfect tracks deserve their own paragraph. The first, "Removal Of The Oaken Stake", is some of the best epic melodeath since Hypocrisy’s eponymous and so is the excellently paced and varied "Sunless Empire", but what Brandon Eschbach and Brian Ellis (also a full-time Arsis guitarist) conjure up with their instruments on the favorite, fantastic "The Wereworm’s Feast" deserves a freaking Grammy in the Heavy Metal 101 category, now a classic Mercyful Fate, now a classic Testament, with a fantastically catchy Darkest Hour-ly chorus, all of which highly reminiscent of "Nocturnal". Then "A Womb in Dark Chrysalis (Interlude)" a’la Death’s "Destiny" gives way to the excellent sum-it-all-up closer "Dawn Of Rats" iself perfectly concluding with scurrying rats presumably eating people alive (could you ask for a more metal end?)
Rightly described now by me as latter Death’s Revocation by way of Testament’s Darkest Hour, "Verminous" is fabulous, absolutely essential metal, a sort of text book example of profoundly heavy metal songwriting. In fact, if you’ve never heard of these Americans, this is your time to get on board or get left behind. Gentlemen, hats off to you for making "Verminous", again, quite possibly your magnum opus!