Denser than a really dense thing

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was just over two years ago now. Unwrapping that CD shaped package with palpable birthday excitement, I couldn’t direct my hands fast enough to see what was hidden beneath that silver paper. What was it? Who was it by? Was it some kind of special edition? Was it a DVD/CD? Combinations and lists of bands endless. Breathless, I finally managed to find what was hidden within. Who? Confused and bemused I stood. A reassuring hand fell to my shoulder “Don’t worry” he said “It will all be ok”. My birthday gift was taken from my hands and duly played and with that, everything changed.

That album was Miasma by The Black Dahlia Murder. I’m still a little scared of it now. The overly intense growls and shrieks and samples was like a thousand simultaneous audio explosions going off in my head. Two years have passed now since that night but have things in the Black Dahlia camp improved?

Now on to their forth album, Nocturnal is yet another incredibly dense and heavy sounding long player. Blast beats coming at you relentlessly from everywhere, guitars played within an inch of their lives and vocals which sound, at times, like the singer might have caught his nuts in a mangle: it’s all just a bit too much.

‘What a Horrible Night For a Curse’ has a fair amount of clout and melody about it but it is just like wading through a murky swamp at midnight with all those nightmarish beasts from your dreams cawing for your blood, shrieking into the night air: It’s a bloody uncomfortable listen. If you are remotely of a jittery or nervous disposition, this is perhaps the worst thing that your ears will ever hear: It is the soundtrack to paranoia itself.

Although The Black Dahlia Murder are undoubtedly accomplished, it is the sheer impenetrable density of their music often takes away from what they are doing. Often sounding a little contrived and like they are trying to sound overly heavy, although I’m sure people will argue that this is the whole point of the band but it just leaves me a little cold, and a little scared. Try it: you might take a perverse delight in the incessant attack on your senses until it leaves your nerves shattered and your mind as broken as a Guantanamo inmate, but it will probably leave you recoiling like a terrified toddler, hiding under your duvet and calling for Mummy. Nighty night.