The Black Dahlia Murder Abysmal on Limited Edition Picture Disc LP
The problem of dropping a record as career-defining as 2013′s Everblack is that the bar is set so high following it up is a galling task. That The Black Dahlia Murder‘s response to such a challenge comes in the form of the devastating Abysmal serves to once again demonstrate why they are considered one of the most vital bands in contemporary death metal.
While crushingly violent, Abysmal is certainly a long way from being a two-dimensional blast-fest. Often evoking potent melancholy or icy unease, tragedy and apocalyptic gloom also insinuate into the songs alongside the all-out fury, for make no mistake, while this record boasts a variety of dark and atmospheric moods the band have perhaps never sounded so downright pissed. The likes of "Re-Faced" and "Threat Level Number Three" are purpose built to incite chaos, and some of the fastest material the band has ever unleashed explodes from the likes of opener "Receipt," "Asylum" and the haunting title track.
While Trevor Strnad's lyrical inspiration remains primarily rooted in horror and the macabre, on Abysmal the theme of hell is prominent, whether it be a literal hell, figurative, or personal one. "Stygiophobic," for instance, which is a slower, crunchy, doom-inflected dirge, sees him focusing on those who are irrationally afraid of hell. Alongside this, on the scathing "Threat Level Number Three" Strnad goes inside the mind of a "recidivist rapist molester, who has been chemically castrated, focusing on his internal dialogue as he's trying to reenter society."
He explores more fantastic subjects, such as the cruelty and violence of Vlad The Impaler – the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula – in the more melancholic "Vlad, Son Of The Dragon," and he also reflects on issues that have affected him more personally, allowing himself some form of catharsis, most notably on "Receipt" and the title track. However, while despair, isolation, and thoughts of suicide haunt these songs, on burly closer "That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead" he pushes the band's perseverance in the faces of those who might consider counting them out.