Maybe this is why I’m so bummed about the band’s sixth and latest full-length, Everblack. Don’t get me wrong, Everblack isn’t a terrible metal album. Far from it. But it’s certainly not a terrific metal album, either. Usually when I listen to something I love I’ll make that scrunched up “F*** yes!” face combined with an appreciative head nod, and maybe throw in some air guitar for good measure. I do that a lot whenever I listen to Ritual, but didn’t catch myself doing this even once over repeated listens of Everblack. Dear reader, this is not a good sign.
Max Lavelle (Despised Icon, Goratory) and Alan Cassidy (Abigail Williams) have stepped in to replace former bassist Ryan “Bart” Williams and drummer Shannon Lucas, respectively. Strnad continues to be one of the best vocalists in modern death metal, as he screams, bellows, grunts, howls, and screeches his pizza n’ beer gut off over ten tracks. Ryan Knight proves that he can shred with the best of them, firing off impressive solos and runs every other couple of minutes.
But nothing is memorable. There’s not one song on this album that’ll have you saying, “Thank you BDM, may I have another?” “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me” is a ripping album opener and “Into The Everblack” sinks its hooks in, but not enough to match any classic TBDM anthems. Impressive riffing. Strnad scream. Impressing riffing. Strnad growl. Knight solo. Crazy drumming. Rinse and repeat. Then “Map of Scars” just kind of fades out and the album is over.
Everblack does have better album art than Ritual, and there’s a song called “Phantom Limb Masturbation.” So they have that going for them, I guess.
(released June 11, 2013 on Metal Blade Records)