2002 Lovelost Records
The Black Dahlia Murder is a Detroit band, and apparently has the honor of being the first band to release material on Lovelost Records (based in Virginia and Washington). Named after the unsolved murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, these guys play melodic metal in the vein of At The Gates or Darkest Hour (yeah, the same comparisons everybody uses). The entire effort consists of only four songs, but clocks in at roughly fifteen minutes, so there's a decent amount of music to enjoy for a CDep. For the most part, BDM churns out fast-paced metal with an occasional breakdown. This isn't what I would call dramatic music. Most of the transformations and stylings are very subtle, though certainly not ineffective. This is one of those records that probably won't do much for you the first time you listen to it, but after several spins, this stuff will start to sink in. By the fifth listen, I was really getting into it. The musicianship is great, and thoroughly exceeeded my expectations for a relatively unknown (for now) band. Good guitar chemistry, solid but not flashy percussion, and competent vocals add up to a performance that really leaves little to be criticized. The best song on this album is the opener, "Closed Casket Requiem," an aural shopping cart of winding metal riffs, growling/raspy vocals, rapid transitions, and one awesome metal breadown. Honestly, this track holds its own against the best work of most well-known bands in this genre. The next two songs are slightly less impressive, though certainly solid. BDM definitely has the melodic metal thing down, with the perfect doses of melody injected amongst their swirling arrangements. Moreover, they seem to add just enough flare to their music to keep things interesting, but never go overboard with artsy passages or flashy guitar structures. The third track, "Burning The Hive," actually features some of the bands' slower material, though there's still plenty of the rapid fire stuff. At the tail end of this effort, listeners will encounter a bastardized version of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black". This track does little to affect the overall listening experience of this EP, but it's actually pretty cool to hear the Stones with blast-beats and breakdowns. Both the understated layout and nice production/engineering help to round out this album, although lyrically, there is nothing groundbreaking going on here and certainly nothing you wouldn't expect. They're covering familiar turf for this genre, with vivid, and often violent, imagery as it relates to themes of suicide, murder, and loss. Although the writing isn't bad per se, I'd like to see them tackle some atypical subject matter, rather than the usual murder and death stuff as I think it would add another facet to the group. But that's just a minor gripe and all things considered, I can't imagine any fans of this genre being disappointed with The Black Dahlia Murder. Both the band and the label should be proud of this one.