The Black Dahlia Murder has emerged from the sewers of the heavy metal underground, after three long years, with an absolute banger. Verminous is a ten-track, 36-minute long event that instantly gets the adrenaline going and the fists pumping while exploring a slime covered wonderland. This might just be the best album the band has released due to its compositional variety, heavy lyrical subtext, and overall musical mastery while still hitting hard and fast in classic The Black Dahlia Murder fashion.
The album starts strong with the title track which immediately brings listeners to the glorious underground empire illustrated by Juanjo Castellano in the cover art. “Verminous” opens with a quick atmospheric introduction of dripping water and squeaking, scurrying of vermin before ripping into furious drumming and ripping guitar. “Welcome unto this wretched underworld” are the first lyrics growled by vocalist Trevor Strnad amidst the blastbeats in this illustrated anthem. The life and energy stays high until the second to last track—“A Womb in Dark Chrysalis.” This 48-second interlude mirrors the album introduction bringing back the sounds of the sewers along with some melodic acoustic guitar. Here, listeners can catch their breath before entering the closing (and possibly best) track “Dawn of Rats.” This one brings all the elements of the album together serving as a perfect conclusion to Verminous. It features a killer guitar solo by Brandon Ellis who has another impressive solo in “Sunless Empire”—one of the darker, more melancholic tracks on the album.
While the songs and the album itself moves very quickly, there is a ton to unpack through each moment. Verminous is full of intricacies and forces that hit differently throughout each blasting ballad. Strnad explains that the band pushed their creative bounds further in this album—“It’s a very colorful, moody, and charismatic album that experiments with new sounds and ideas without losing the cutthroat Black Dahlia edge. There is a lot of minutiae to digest. Plenty of delicious little Easter eggs woven into the fabric of each song. Each one is a living, breathing entity that will stand on its own as some of the best music this band has ever created.”
How does a band, 19 years in the making, create a tenth album without losing their essence and without becoming stale? The Black Dahlia Murder has managed to do this with Verminous. It will appeal to both old and new fans of the band while attracting a whole new wave of listeners. It features the most variety to date from The Black Dahlia Murder while not compromising on the heat and ferocity that mark the signature of their music. Come escape through rodent ridden paths “beneath your revolting heaven rotten” and experience a new era of extreme metal with Verminous.