Back in November of 2005, Metro Times' annual "Music Issue" named Waterford's Black Dahlia Murder the "best metal band nobody cares about." Fast forward more than four years ... and little has changed. OK, they've signed a deal with the legendary Metal Blade label, and they've played metal fests as prestigious as Wacken and OzzFest. Still, they've managed to avoid that leap into the big leagues. And here in Detroit, they're still largely ignored. That "metal" tag doesn't help, of course, especially when it only tells a fraction of the story. In the same way that Napalm Death, Carcass and Neurosis straddle the line between metal and pure punk rock, the Black Dahlia Murder merges the genres seamlessly.
Deflorate is BDM's fourth full-length release and while there's little here that'll surprise longtime fans of the band, it is as brain-melting as any of its predecessors. Like a sledgehammer to the center of the face, each track on this album is a brutal attack with little compromise. If anything, the band has gotten heavier. It's almost as if they resigned themselves to the fact they're destined for obscurity so they decided to stop trying to be liked. If there's any truth in that, then God bless them, because there isn't a bad song here, from the opening "Black Valor" through the gloriously vile "Christ Deformed" to the closing crescendo of "I Will Return." Frontman Trevor Strnad's vocals are as evil as ever, and his band is unnaturally tight. But the real joy here is that it hammers home how this local band is one of the finest exponents of grindcore in the world right now. The "drunken ox" aesthetic might not make them Motor City, but great rock 'n' roll is great rock 'n' roll. And BDM is one of our best.
Black Dahlia Murder has just finished a tour of Europe. The band's next local show is Wednesday, March 24, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665. With Hatesphere, Augury and Obscura.
Brett Callwood writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].