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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: The Black Dahlia Murder - death metal plus fun equals a mighty show

DEATH metal is sort of regarded by many as the po-faced, growly ugly cousin of heavy metal. Dodgy themes and technical wizardry, right? Well, not when The Black Dahlia Murder and Benighted roll in to town. There were more smiles and fun than a convention of Cheshire Cats.

When the TBDM 'Abysmal' tour rolled into Dublin the one word that couldn't be anticipated was 'fun', and fun in such high quantities of merriment it wasn't just the beer or 'other' substances that can be 'blamed' for the sheer sense of enjoyment from bands and fans alike.

If they could find a way to harness the atmosphere in the Voodoo Lounge on the 20th January you could power a small town.

Opening proceedings for the evening were local act Warpath. Death metal in abundance, and obviously a band much loved by the Dublin crowd. Darren on vocals is a beast in terms of his range and his sheer size - we think he's on the Zakk Wylde exercise plan.

The band have well crafted songs that avoid the clich├ęs so prevalent in death metal. We look forward to catching them again at Siege of Limerick on Easter Sunday.

Belgian crew, Benighted, were the surprise of the night for those of us who travelled to this show. Damn they are an immense band in terms of songs and stage presence.  And, they smiled, and smiled and smiled. This is a band that enjoy what they do: no pretence, no bull, just playing music.

Vocalist Juliene has every death metal trick at his disposal and uses them well to accentuate songs that are tight, well thought out and delivered with a kick to the guts.

Showcasing material from their latest release 'Carnivore Sublime' those who had not seen/heard were seen updating their Spotify and buying from iTunes within minutes of the end of their set. We ordered the album the next day...

There is no doubt that The Black Dahlia Murder have a devoted fanbase. Sure the Dublin gig is in a relatively small venue, but that only seemed to amplify the response of those attending, as from the get go there was a febrile response to every note played.

Brian, Trev and Ryan are then heart of the band but in total the five-piece are so slick at their delivery that at times it seems they are much, much more than a melodic death metal band.

But that slick delivery doesn't mean that there isn't a soul in their twisted songs. To have such craftmanship on show is one thing, but to make sure that you remain engaged throughout is another thing.

From opener 'Receipt' the audience response is equalled by Trev cajoling the audience to greater levels of effort. From directing mosh pits, pointing for aid when someone fell to encouraging crowd surfing he  made sure that as well as an aural and visual experience it could also be a very tactile experience for those who wished.

Of course tracks from latest release 'Abysmal' were featured, but they also ranged throughout their back catalogue. Stand-out tracks included 'Elder Misanthropy', Vlad, Son of Dragon', 'Miasma', 'Raped in Hatred by Vine of Thorns' and closer 'I Will Return', which expressed fans hopes for another show soon.

The musicianship on display from each band member etched itself across every track and Trev showed why is among the most talented of death metal vocalists out there. The Black Dahlia Murder are the sort of live band that can reach across the genre boundaries. Added to that is the time they - and the other acts - took to meet, interact and chat with the fans.

And, yes as the fans filed out into the chilly Dublin night it was smiles not scowls from the devotees of death metal.

Review by Jonny
Pictures by Darren McVeigh


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