LIVE REVIEW: The Black Dahlia Murder at The Voodoo Lounge (Jan 20th 2016)

The Black Dahlia Murder Tour PosterDate: January 20th, 2016
Venue: The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: The Black Dahlia Murder + Benighted + Warpath

Melodic death metallers The Black Dahlia Murder made their long overdue return to Ireland tonight in a stuffed Voodoo Lounge. Supporting their latest album, the acclaimed Abysmal released in September, the show promised to be scorcher.

Opening tonight’s show was our own premier death metal act Warpath, a band who’s performed with some big names over the years including, most recently, Sepultura. Their set was crushingly heavy and sure to give your neck a thorough workout. Vocalist Darren Keogh towered over the front of the stage delivering some monstrously low growls, backed up by guitarist Joe Merriman, and devilish screams. From the headbanging grooves, the Suffocation-style breakdowns and the more brutal sections, the music never let up until the sets abrupt end.

French brutal death metal act Benighted made their debut Irish show tonight playing to a crowd of eagerly awaiting fans. Beginning their set with music from their latest album Carnivore Sublime, it was devastating in its delivery and utterly relentless; however, despite that fact the band looked like the happiest death metal band I’d ever seen. Bassist Pierre Arnoux was a bundle of energy and guitarist Emmanuel Dalle was all smiles. Vocalist Julien Truchan is an extremely versatile vocalist, hitting all sorts of highs and lows with a heavy dose of pig squeals; this was a man who seemed possessed by the very music he was playing.

Before The Black Dahlia Murder had even played a single note the crowd were screaming in anticipation for their set. Opening with a double fury of “Receipt” and “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse”, the crowd were revelling in the music’s speed and aggression. Kicking things up a notch with a pair of new songs from the band’s latest album Abysmal, “Vlad, Son of the Dragon” and “Threat Level No. 3”, for a short sharp thrash kick.

Not forgetting their long-time fans, the band dived back in their discography to their debut album, 2003’s Unhallowed, for what vocalist Trevor Strnad described as some “crusty old songs”. The crowd’s reaction to the tracks from the bands best known albums, Miasma and Nocturnal, caught me completely off-guard; they were one of the most insanely devoted fans I’ve seen. Trevor acted as a sort of conductor up on stage, directing people to get into pits and encouraging plenty of crowd surfing. Towards the end of the show Trevor was even actively helping people up on stage for the chance to dive back into the crowd.

Guitarists Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight threw out riff after riff the entire night from the instantly recognisable “A Vulgar Picture” to heavier territories such as “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood”, of course there’s not forgetting the shredding solo’s throughout the set. The destructive rhythm section of bassist Max Lavelle and drummer Alan Cassidy kept the furious pace up with a devastating sense of urgency.

Closing with “I Will Return” and its strong harmonious lead guitar felt like an appropriate hero’s send-off after what had been an exhilarating night for both die-hard fans and newcomers alike.

Setlist:
Receipt
What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood
Threat Level No. 3
Vlad, Son Of Dragon
Moonlight Equilibrium
Elder Misanthropy
Abysmal
Funeral Thirst
Everything Went Black
A Vulgar Picture
I’m Charming
Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn
Miasma
Statutory Ape
Deathmask Divine
I Will Return

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