THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have gained a reputable fanbase throughout the years, especially of those who worship the Gothenburg sound, namely AT THE GATES‘ Slaughter of the Soul album. Their fourth full length, Deflorate, uses the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality as they continue worshipping the Gothenburg formula that got them where they are today. The band has fused the genres of metalcore and death metal, and the vocals, which range from low growls to high pitched squeals, can be overbearing and turn off old death metal fanatics in the process.
Deflorate starts off strong, however, as “Black Valor” combines a heavy dose of melodic fused riffs balanced with tasty blasts and double bass, and the production is nice, clean, and powerful, very similar to the sound of newer KATAKLYSM albums. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER thrive on the one foot blast perfected by AT THE GATES, and Deflorate contains plenty of it, which sometimes waters down some of the well written melodies hidden beneath the surface. Songs are short, fluid, and cohesive, as the band blasts through hook laden tracks such as “Necropolis” and “A Selection Unnatural“. The high pitched, effect driven vocals on “Denounced, Disgraced” start to drag the album down, but “Death Panorama” is loaded with high intensity as the double bass pounds throughout, and the blasts compliment the AT THE GATES-ish solos graciously. While trudging through a few generic tracks, Deflorate ends with a slower, but very catchy track that closes out the album perfectly. “I Will Return” touches on the topic of cryogenic freezing, and the band utilizes all the influences they’ve picked up and learned from DISSECTION, IN FLAMES, and IRON MAIDEN as they pull out all the stops.
Underground metal warriors snub this band because of how they look and dress, but musically, the band is one of the best Gothenburg-influenced bands out there today. Deflorate is not for old school death metal fans who grew up on DEICIDE, SUFFOCATION, and IMMOLATION, but for fans of the newer crop of bands, such as ABIGAIL WILLIAMS and VEHEMENCE. Deflorate should please all BLACK DAHLIA MURDER fans, and might be a starting point for new listeners to the genre to move on to heavier bands in the future. (Metal Blade Records)