Song Impressions: The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous

I would fight anyone who hates on The Black Dahlia Murder, they are my favorite death metal band on this wretched planet. After nearly two decades worth of experience, they continue to plant seeds of terror across the world. The first song off of the upcoming album, the title track Verminous lends itself as the perfect introduction to another sick creation from these veteran musicians.

Echoes of squeaks and drippings of water and other possible fluids, the first few seconds immerses me into the album art, which as always, is beautifully haunting with a simple color scheme.

Next thing I know, I get thrust into blast beat city with methodically melodic guitar riffs and ominous bass sounds lurking behind. Complexity is The Black Dahlia’s forte, especially in guitar work. Slides, pull-offs, and string bends come in left and right for a slick sound from Brandon Ellis and Brian Eschbach, who are on top of their game before any vocals enter the mix.

Right before vocalist Trevor Strnad comes in, the rest of the band smacks in punches in unison for an explosive entrance for their wicked screamer. The speed of the instrumentation is a constant high but does not overwhelm the story-driven lyrics that Strnad is known to write. Even he does not overdo it as in between lines, a brief pause lets everything breathe.

The structure in this genre can follow the basic formula of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, with sometimes a pre-chorus and bridge to mix things up. With some repetition coming in, much of Verminous keeps moving forward without looking back. A disturbing narrative with rats and other creatures that will make you squirm crawl all over this classic TBDM song.

A must in anything that these metalheads create is a solo that bangs and thrashes while having a sophisticated manner despite all of the chaos surrounding it. Ellis nailed it on the last record, Nightbringers, and continues to do so in a short session.

Sure, they have a formula, and the first single released since 2017 follows their established sound. Some bands do this, and it gets boring, but The Black Dahlia Murder are masters at what they do, and Verminous is a prime example of how to continue one thing, and do it right. Supposedly some experimentation will get thrown in, so I am ready to hear what they have cooking in that vile cauldron on theirs.

What do you think of the new song? Let me know in the comments.

Verminous releases on April 17.

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Image via Metal Blade Records

Song Impression: A Day to Remember – Degenerates

Only a few bands hit me the way A Day to Remember hits as they have been one of my favorite bands for close to ten years at this point. Bringing pop-punk and metalcore into one group should not work, yet it does. These Florida boys bring out the pop in pop-punk in all of its glory with the first song since their 2016 effort Bad Vibrations.

Lead singer Jeremy McKinnon has his moment in the spotlight to kick things off. He sets the tone that this will not be one of the band’s heavier tracks, but a catchy tune that will surely be cemented into my brain for the next few months. Beats and clapping give this an extra poppy flavor before drummer Alex Shelnut bashes in followed by the rest of the band to blast off.

After a hard-driving introduction for the rest of the guys, things take a step back. Shelnut and bassist Josh Woodard deliver some groove as McKinnon sings the first verse. Before the pre-chorus, guitarists Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff enter with some heavy riffs. Often times the chorus is set as the piece to get stuck in the heads of fans, but every second is as catchy as the last.

The beginning with clapping and subtly place electric beats comes together again for the pre-chorus leading into a sing-along chorus full of prideful instrumentation from every member. McKinnon takes his time to sing with confidence in this grand moment.

Everyone becomes subdued as they play during a significant build-up in the bridge. McKinnon leads the charge that goes into a heavy breakdown. Their hardcore roots start to show in this brief part that is suited to start headbanging before the bold climax as they end with the final chorus.

Degenerates blend new and familiar flavors that any fan would expect. The pre-chorus is certainly different while the rest is an evolution from the past two records. A Day to Remember never disappoint and now I am desperately waiting for a new album announcement.

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Image via A Day to Remember/YouTube

Song Impression: You Me at Six – What’s It Like

Seeing the announcement for new music surprised me as You Me at Six has released Night People in 2017 and VI in 2018. What’s It Like moves in the same commercialized direction as their effort from last year. Not that the mainstream-friendly sound on the previous record was a problem, this time it lays that style too thick that takes away from the British outfit’s charm.

A reserved opening comes in before taking a beat of quiet then jumping into the night club scene. The electronic beats and heavy use of a synthesizer give that vibe, which felt off-putting.

As the vocals come in, none of the band participate as much as the synthesizer and Josh Franceschi singing. He has this hip-hop like pattern while melding other influences with his style that work well with his already delightful voice.

The chorus is catchy, but the electronics to replace the typical rock and pop-punk sounds I am used to makes it difficult to enjoy. It reminds me of any other generic tune you would hear at a college party where nobody cares about the quality of music that is playing. This is a radical change for the group while making sense with the sound from VI.

I have mixed feelings as I am glad one of my favorite groups are branching out of their comfort zone; however, this gravitates towards something more commercialized and less original. I can accept moving from the pop-punk roots, but if the rest of the potential album sounds like this, then it could be their first dud of a record. Fingers crossed if What’s It Like lands on a seventh album then enough diversity across the tracks can excuse this mistake.

What do you think of the new song? Check it out here:

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Song Impression: Erra – Eye of God

A new single from one of the most underrated bands around, Erra. Eye of God gives me a variety of positive and negative emotions. I harbor some fear that the group has stagnated due to its close similarity to their last album Neon. Then I have joy because I am too happy about a new song along with hope that things will be different since some elements creep in and out that has a different flavor than the quintet’s last two efforts.

Starting off strong with technical instrumentation, especially from guitarists Jesse Cash and Sean Price, along with vocalist JT Cavey bringing out some high screams, the first time since his debut with the band. After dying down for a second, a fierce attack comes with every member going in aggressively fast.

Cash coming in with his cleans as everything dies off to have his vocals take the stage. Light beats from drummer Alex Ballew and bass action from Conor Hesse along with a touch of an electric atmosphere highlights the beauty after a chaotic opening.

Then what I think Erra does best comes in as Cavey and Cash exchange back and forth vocals as the rest of the group continue to play fiercely while keeping with the technicality of their superb skills. The widely different vocals complement one another and have great chemistry throughout.

The next time Cash has some alone time the instrumentation from before becomes more pronounced. Nothing feels the same with each new chapter in the three and a half minute single.

Initially, I had a sour taste in my mouth from it sounding too similar to the last two records. Now I can hear a lot more progression since last night when the group unleashed Eye of God. I still think Cavey needs to show more of his range and the tone of the guitar work needs to differ more from Neon. Despite those issues, I am on board for what’s to come next.

What do you think of the new song? Give me your thoughts in the comments.

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Image via Sumerian Records

Song Impression: The Dev – Broken Lies

The typical rock formula has been around for decades, and if done correctly, then you can get a pass on following that path. The Dev certainly follow the basic rock recipe on making a song, but do it well mostly with their sense of driving rhythms and the singing from frontwoman Elizabeth Nikollaj.

A rhythmic and powerful introduction immediately caught my attention. The guitar work from Ryan Danley has its own sound, unlike most rock groups who blend together.

The first verse really shows the band’s true colors. The drumming and bass work is nothing extraordinary. While the guitar and vocals have plenty to offer. Lleshi has raw emotion to her voice and can show off some of her range in both soft and more aggressive tones.

The highly melodic chorus can undoubtedly get stuck in my brain if I listen to it enough times. The instrumentation took a step back as she took the lead. Nothing from the rest of the band stood out as much.

The bridge takes a twist on the same riff that was done throughout while Lleshi has a great moment to project a lot of emotion about this broken relationship.

Leading into a furious solo. The most hard-driving moment in the track with the drums and bass picking up the pace as we get a classic shredding solo that gave me 80s metal vibes.

Broken Lies may not be the most special song in the world, but it is great radio rock material. Throw it on a drive or a workout, and it will surely be suitable. The Dev prove they have substance to offer the rock and metal world, just need to experiment more to find their own voice in a sea of voices.

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Image via The Dev

Song Impression: Carnifex – No Light Shall Save Us (Feat. Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy)

My feelings about Carnifex started off with apathy until their 2014 release Die Without Hope completely overhauled of the band’s style that goes above the average deathcore group. Now the quartet not only announced their new album World War X but have unleashed an unforgiving, emotional journey, which is precisely what I had hoped for due to their previous records.

An eerie introduction with the light riffs from Cory Arford and Jordan Lockrey with Alissa White-Gluz’s (Arch Enemy) singing in the background to add to the seemingly safe beginning. The volume picks up to a climax that leads into the whole group’s crushing instrumentation and Scott Ian Lewis’ booming voice.

The verse sounds like a continuation on the band’s evolution. More heavy on brutal riffs, pounding bass playing from Fred Calderon, and Shawn Cameron’s drumming is like rapid artillery. Still containing that deathcore flavor, the breakdowns throughout remain just as vicious as ever.

Soon after Lewis gets matched with Gluz’s screams. The two get paired up flawlessly as Lewis’ highs and lows compliment Gluz’s mid-range voice. The two get plenty of time to shine on their own, but the rest of the song focuses both of them going full death metal together, creating a hauntingly powerful sound.

The instrumentation gets more ferocious during this shift, eventually leading into a solo from Lockrey. The sound and style remind me of previous shining moments of the guitarist, but this has a stronger sense of melody than previous Carnifex solos.

The track takes a sharp turn for a melodic, atmospheric road before ending on a skull-shattering conclusion. The instrumentation has died down, and Gluz takes the stage with her beautiful clean singing. Eventually, Lewis joins her for a duet to craft one of Carnifex’s most moving moments.

The five-piece of metalheads continues to bring out some of the heaviest and emotional music in the scene. Lewis continues his bleak lyrical themes while still showing an evolution in articulation and writing skills without becoming redundant. The atmospheric elements, especially from the addition of the band’s first guest vocalist adds a level of complexity never heard previously. World War X is off to the perfect start that has sold me instantly with its first single.

World War X comes out Aug. 2 and you can pre-order the record below along with listening to the new song No Light Shall Save Us below:

Pre-order: World War X

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Image via Nuclear Blast Records

Song Impression: Unveil The Sense – Prisoner

Hungry for a change, Unveil The Sense have started down a more alternative path with their newest single, Prisoner. The experimental track has plenty of flavors to taste that work together.

An acoustic introduction gives a somber tone to the overall song. An abrasive switch comes in with backup screams in the distance. The clean singing has enough dynamics and style shifts that kept me on my toes. I was not sure what to expect next with everything that was happening.

A break comes in as an electric guitar, bass, and drums kick in with some stronger screams. Slowly the instrumentation takes a step back for a more subdued approach. The newly introduced instruments continue with steady pacing to keep a rhythm going.

The sound quality could use some tweaking to make the heavier shift sound stronger. Everything sounded weak when this turn occurred while the softer moments stand out. Enough surprises happen along with different styles to make this first single a hit and making me curious about what Unveil The Sense has planned for the future.

You can hear the song yourself below:

Check out the band’s other material: Buy: Beachy Head

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Image via Unveil The Sense