THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - DEFLORATE (2009)
Michigan's The Black Dahlia Murder have been a prolific new school death metal act since 2003's awesome Unhallowed album. Deflorate is their fourth full length album in 6 years. TBDM play frantic, Gothomburg-style death metal - very melodic and usually in that harmonic minor mode where it sounds ever so slightly gothic.
A big part of their sound is Trevor Strnad's dual vocals - one witch-style, and one guttural. I prefer his lower voice, and he thankfully uses it more on this album than he did on the previous one. This style of death metal is very dependent on the guitars so Eschbach and Knight need to deliver, and for the most part, they do.
What made Unhallowed so successful, was that it was stocked with $1000 riffs. Their next 2 albums came off as rather uninspired and somewhat redundant. Deflorate improves on this by stepping up the quality of the writing. There is still some moments where it feels like the same thing over and over, and the main reason for that is the unrelenting breakneck tempo of everything. It's either blast-beats or assault-grade double-bass on the drums. Granted, it's a death metal staple, but they could stand with a little variation once in awhile.
TBDM are consistently competent and effective in their strangely European style of death metal. Deflorate does not match the strength of their debut, but it improves on what I felt were two mediocre releases in between. It gets a 3 out of 5.