Trying to pin a sound on The Black Dahlia Murder (BDM) is almost as tricky as tracking the band’s membership over the course of its 13-year history. The Waterford, Mich., quintet came together toward the end of 2000 but coalesced into a solid unit early the following year; since then, lead vocalist Trevor Strnad and rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach have been the only constant members in a steady parade of bassists (five), lead guitarists (three) and drummers (five). BDM’s current lineup includes lead guitarist Ryan Knight, whose five-year tenure is closing in on a lead guitar record for the band, and rhythm section Max Lavelle and Alan Cassidy (bass and drums, respectively), who both joined just before the release of 2013’s Everblack.
On the sonic front, The Black Dahlia Murder draws on a number of influences — including Carcass, Morbid Angel, The Haunted and Iron Maiden — in creating a sound that Strnad has often described as “melodic Death Metal,” although the band often incorporates the demonic vocals, speed riffing and explosive blast-beat drumming associated with Extreme Metal and Grindcore.
On 2001’s self-released What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse and the 2002 four-song EP A Cold-Blooded Epitaph, BDM exhibited elements of Metalcore, but the band moved away from that sound by the time it inked its deal with Metal Blade in 2003.
Whatever musical nomenclature you attach to it, BDM has been extremely successful doing it. The only BDM albums that didn’t crack the U.S. charts were its early self- and indie-released discs and its 2003 Metal Blade debut, Unhallowed; after that, the band has enjoyed a steady rise in its commercial fortunes thanks to a passionately committed fanbase. The 2011 album Ritual and last year’s Everblack both hit the Top 40 of Billboard’s album chart.
For a band named after a killing where a woman was cut in half, The Black Dahlia Murder is Hardcore brutality with a melodic heart.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER plays the Thompson House Thursday, Aug. 14. Tickets/more info here .