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The Black Dahlia Murder Miasma

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The Black Dahlia Murder - Miasma
01. Built For Sin
02. I'm Charming
03. Flies
04. Statutory Ape
05. A Vulgar Picture
06. Novelty Crosses
07. Dave Goes To Hollywood
08. Miscarriage
09. Spite Suicide
10. Miasma
Reviewed by: Michael Gluck   //   Published: 8/3/2005

I'm going to break the news right away to remove the potentially disappointing suspense: This album is quite the disappointment in the face of the promise The Black Dahlia Murder were blessed with upon first breaking on to the scene. It's far from a bad album; there's no question that numerous moments of greatness seek to redeem its very undermining nature, and at first listen it will most definitely blow away the legion of young fans just getting turned on to this fast-expanding crossbreed genre. But that doesn't do much to convince a seasoned listener from the extreme underground of its pleas for praise.

The areas where the band reigned have diminished in potency, as Miasma sees them slowing down their once breakneck speeds to a virtually continuous and pesky mid-paced groove, with ordinary blast beats often in tow. No longer is there an aura of hyper-melodic-thrash, but instead a monotonous interchange of common speeds that fans of extreme music will be all too familiar with. And since combining exaggerated speed blasts with accelerated melodic riffs was what raised eyebrows the most about Unhallowed, this loss of speed is especially damaging to the promise which their debut prompted. Miasma has some speed, but not nearly to the degree that there should have been. New drummer Zach Gibson matches the new sound well though, peppering the slower and thus roomier song structures with an array of fills and complimentary cymbal work. The dancing main melodic riffs carrying "Flies" and "A Vulgar Picture" characterize the only straightforward tracks reminiscent of their debut, with the rest taking on a more disjointed approach. The guitars now bring much more low-end to the table than before, but it's questionable whether this overcompensation for its absence from Unhallowed actually works in their favor.

Tracks like "I'm Charming," "Statutory Ape," "Novelty Crosses," and "Miscarriage" showcase this new approach, which sees the band substituting throwaway chainsaw riffing for the constant melodic picking that once made them every metal fan's guilty pleasure. Try as I may to appreciate their desire to break out of the solely plagiaristic Gothenburg sound they once swore by, I still can't help but interpret Miasma as a transition record rather than the masterpiece many of the scene's newcomers are labeling it as. The more intricate song structures underlying most tracks on the album mean numerous listens are required to understand their full scope. But even with the skill and stamina that the band have, as visible on Miasma but much more so on Unhallowed, more parts to the songs does not necessarily create great songs; precisely the issue with much of this album. Unhallowed succeeded because it combined speed, a small rotation of melodic riffs per song, and efficient structure. Miasma suffers because it complicates many songs with more time changes, and an overall convoluted feel.

Bottom Line: When The Black Dahlia Murder broke on to the scene several years ago, you couldn't convince them to fill their songs with anything other than a melodic Gothenburg riff. As their debut album Unhallowed proved, they were able to make a pretty decent album out of those riffs. Forgive me for expecting more of the same, but why couldn't they continue along that same path on Miasma It's an album that sees a band once though to be only competent enough to steal melodic riffs and speed them up, branch out into more vintage death metal territory and generally slow everything down. Many may, and will, call Miasma a sign that the band is on top of their game, but it sounds to me like they're still trying to find a sound to call their own.

Comments
rod_   posted 12/13/2006 4:03:47 PM
music is mediocre. cd has the worst f*cking layout and song titles ive ever heard. built for sin, im charming, dave goes to hollywood...sounds like im reading the back of an etid disc
Taylor_   posted 6/21/2006 1:56:13 PM
f*ck you narc's id like to see anyone here put out a cd half as good as this one. this cd is 10x better than unhallowed. get your heads out of your vjayjay's and stop listening to fall out boy....gays
Dennis_   posted 5/23/2006 2:27:26 PM
I was totally disappionted upon first listen, but after I listened to it more, it grew on me. One of my fave Albums now.
anonymous   posted 12/31/2005 12:05:42 AM
i kinda agree with the review its not that great i loved Unhallowed its better than Miasma way and if you love it then good for you but yoou must have not been listnening to the first cd right maybe you were to busy listening to atreyu or some other stupid band and then realized that the black dahlia murder is awesome idk thats just my take on it
xthardingx_   posted 12/13/2005 2:04:58 PM
dude seriously. lambgoat gives shitty bands like it dies today better reviews than this alblum. this alblum is a step up in production. its more crisp and clean than any other alblum out at the time. straight up. this review = poo

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