There are those who innovate in metal and those that choose to stick with the same sound churning out countless albums of the same dribble, Ritual by The Black Dahlia Murder isn’t one of those albums.
Firstly, this album is fucking insane. While I haven’t always been a fan of TBDM’s vocals which at times sound like cats being tortured in some kind of African voodoo ritual, they really know how to create a brutal sounding song as their previous album Deflorate showed.
Ritual is the first proper album by the guys since acquiring ex Arsis guitarist Ryan Knight who contributed to some guitar on Deflorate, but contribute both guitar and lyrics to the new album, as well as being able to influence the sound (and it has paid off for them).
Conspiring With The Damned starts off mean and fast (much like the rest of the album) and is one of my favourites easily. The bass lines, the solo, the slow nervous build up around the 1:20 mark, fuck.
Track number 5, “The Window” sounds very metalcore-esque. The intro sounds like something that Caliban would write, but luckily it’s short-lived and the track progresses into a smash into your face TBDM track, although it feels like this track is lacking the lustre many of the other tracks have.
One of the tracks that caught me off guard was Den of The Picquerist, it has a punk rock feel too it and goes for just a little over 1 minute. I have a feeling this was a little mess around track the guys did to break the album up.
Every guitar note, every vocal line, every drum kick and every ride cymbal hit sounds perfectly blended. One of the major issues with death metal, hardcore and mostly music in general is overproduction. Washed out cymbals, drowned out guitars and vocals, Ritual feels almost perfect in every way production wise.
This might sound silly, but it puts a smile on my face every time I can clearly hear a ride cymbal hit.
If I had to pick a definitive favourite off of this album, it would be the final track on the album Blood In The Ink. The haunting symphonic like string section playing beneath the vocals, guitar and drums works flawlessly. One of the most impressive, aggressive and intensive tracks on Ritual.
Check out the guitar solo in it, just make sure you’re not wearing your good pants, because you’ll probably need to change them after listening to this song.
If you’re not feeling numb after listening to this entire album from start to finish, you’re not listening to it loud enough! By far one of the best melodic death metal albums to come out in 2011. Time to catch up everyone else.