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The Black Dahlia Murder (band)

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The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder - Wacken Open Air 2016-AL1572.jpg
The Black Dahlia Murder in 2016
Background information
OriginWaterford, Michigan, United States
GenresMelodic death metal
Years active2001–present
LabelsMetal Blade
Associated actsAbigail Williams, Arsis
  • Trevor Strnad
  • Brian Eschbach
  • Max Lavelle
  • Alan Cassidy
  • Brandon Ellis
Past membersSee members section

The Black Dahlia Murder is an American melodic death metal band from Waterford, Michigan, formed in 2001. Their name is derived from the 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, often referred to as Black Dahlia; the band currently comprises lead vocalist Trevor Strnad, rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach, bassist Max Lavelle, drummer Alan Cassidy, and lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. Out of the eight studio albums they have released to date, the last seven have charted on the U.S. Billboard 200, with their fifth album Ritual peaking at No. 31 in 2011, marking them as one of the most popular contemporary American extreme metal bands. Their eighth and latest album Nightbringers was released on October 6, 2017.


Formation, Unhallowed and Miasma (2001–2006)

The Black Dahlia Murder in 2006. From left to right: Eschbach, former bassist Ryan Williams, former lead guitarist John Kempainen, Strnad and former drummer Pierre Langlois.

The Black Dahlia Murder began its inception during late 2000 and gained the final band lineup in January 2001; the group released their demo entitled What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, and a four-track EP, A Cold-Blooded Epitaph, the latter of which the group released on Lovelost Records. After appearing in concerts such as the Milwaukee Metal Fest, The Black Dahlia Murder signed to Metal Blade Records in 2003.[1]

Bassist Ryan "Bart" Williams left his former band, Detroit's Today I Wait, to tour with the Black Dahlia Murder. After touring with the band on their co-headlining gig with Throwdown and their European dates with Liar, he joined the group full-time, replacing former bassist David Lock. Frontman Trevor Strnad said that Lock was fired for incompetency.[2] Williams was one of two engineers (the other being Walls of Jericho's Mike Hasty) on the band's first full-length album, Unhallowed.

The band's second album Miasma was released on July 12, 2005 and peaked at No. 118 on the Billboard 200.[3] After touring for Miasma, drummer Zach Gibson left the band along with Pierre Langlois. While Gibson went on to join Abigail Williams, Langlois left the band for a more secure lifestyle, and the band finished their search for a replacement drummer when they found former All That Remains drummer, Shannon Lucas; the group played at Ozzfest 2005.

Nocturnal and Deflorate (2006–2010)

Ryan Knight in 2014

Their third album, entitled Nocturnal, was released on September 18, 2007; the album debuted at No. 72 on the Billboard 200.[4] The Black Dahlia Murder announced via their MySpace profile that they were going on a U.S. tour with Cannibal Corpse to promote their new album Nocturnal and celebrate the 25 years that Metal Blade Records had been in business. They were joined by label-mates The Red Chord, Aeon, The Absence, and Goatwhore. In January/February 2008, the band embarked on a U.S. headlining tour with 3 Inches of Blood, Hate Eternal, and Decrepit Birth, followed by another alongside Brain Drill and Animosity. They were on Hot Topic's "Summer Slaughter Tour"[5] with Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Vader, Whitechapel, and Despised Icon.

Their longtime lead guitarist, John Kempainen left the band and was replaced by Ryan Knight during the beginning of 2009. In May 2009, The Black Dahlia Murder released their first DVD, "Majesty"; the DVD contains a documentary and live footage from the Summer Slaughter tour and their tour supporting Children of Bodom in late 2008. The DVD also contains all of their music videos and behind the scenes footage.[6]

The Black Dahlia Murder released Deflorate on September 15, 2009 via Metal Blade Records; the album sold 12,000 copies in the United States in the first week of the release, debuted at position No. 43 Billboard's Top 200 charts, No. 5 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart, No. 4 on Billboard's Top Hard Music Albums chart, and No. 50 on HITS Top 50 Albums chart.[7] They toured with Children of Bodom and Skeletonwitch in support of the album. After their 2010 headlining tour with Goatwhore and Arkaik, the band began writing and recording their next full-length album.[8]

Ritual and member changes (2011–2013)

Alan Cassidy in 2016

In February 2011, The Black Dahlia Murder completed the songwriting process for their fifth studio album,[9] entitled Ritual,[10] it was released on June 21, 2011 in North America.[10] The band supported Amon Amarth on their May 2011 European tour,[11] as well as headlined the 2011 Summer Slaughter tour, both in support of Ritual.[12] Before the record's release, the track "Moonlight Equilibrium" was posted to the Metal Blade Records website on April 29, 2011 to critical and fan acclaim.[10] A music video for "Moonlight Equilibrium" was released on February 20, 2012. In April 2012 during the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival on the first night performance, Trevor Strnad officially welcomed new bassist Max Lavelle into the band after former bassist Ryan Williams parted ways. On November 7, Shannon Lucas announced via a YouTube video that he would be stepping down as drummer of The Black Dahlia Murder to pursue other aspirations. Alan Cassidy of Abigail Williams filled in for Shannon's touring duties.

Everblack and Abysmal (2013–2016)

In early 2013, despite the news of the departure of two band members (drummer Shannon Lucas and bassist Bart Williams), plans were announced for an upcoming album release, to be entitled Everblack. Tentative plans estimated its release to be early summer 2013; likely June. On April 10, 2013, the iTunes Store was updated with official release and availability information, including cover art, a full track listing, and an official U.S. release date of June 11, 2013. The album has 10 tracks in total. On the same day, the band's first single from Everblack was made available for purchase and download, titled "Into The Everblack"; the album itself was then released on June 11 and peaked at No. 32 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

On November 28, 2014 (the day after Thanksgiving), The Black Dahlia Murder released a 7" EP titled Grind 'Em All featuring 3 short grindcore covers of punk rock songs: a cover of "Ripped Up" by Left for Dead, of "Rebel Without a Car" by Sedition and of "Populous" by Gyga;[13] the covers were originally recorded almost 10 years earlier during the era of Miasma.[13][14] The EP was released as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday event via A389 Recordings (rather than the band's label, Metal Blade Records),[15] made available for purchase on the band's online merchandise store[14] and also streamed in its entirety via Exclaim!.[16] The album art for Grind 'Em All was designed by Szymon Siech.[13][15]

Brandon Ellis in 2016

Lead guitarist Ryan Knight confirmed in early 2015 that the band will deliver a seventh studio release that year, followed by extensive touring, and that he is planning to start working on a solo album afterwards.[17][18][19] Vocalist Trevor Strnad stated that the band's new album, titled Abysmal, will be "more raw and natural sounding" and feature "more dynamic and developed songs" than their previous work.[20] "Vlad, Son of the Dragon", the first song from the album, was released online on June 24,[20] followed by "Receipt" on July 22[21] and "Threat Level No. 3" on August 19.[22] Abysmal was produced by Mark Lewis and Ryan Williams and released worldwide through Metal Blade on September 18.[20] In early February 2016, it was announced that Knight had left the band, he was replaced on lead guitar by Brandon Ellis of Arsis .[23]

Nightbringers (2017–present)

The band's 8th album Nightbringers was released on October 6, 2017, to critical and commercial acclaim, charting at 35 on the Billboard 200.


Co-founder and frontman Trevor Strnad in 2018

The Black Dahlia Murder headlined the 2008 Summer Slaughter Tour with Kataklysm, Vader, Cryptopsy, The Faceless, Despised Icon, Aborted, Born of Osiris, Psycroptic, and Whitechapel.[24] In late 2008, they joined a U.S. tour with Finland's Children of Bodom and Raleigh, NC's Between the Buried and Me. They were initially announced as "... with special guests" at the start of the tour, though it was later confirmed by Revolver Magazine that they were on tour. They appeared on the Hot Topic Stage in the 2009 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. In late 2009, they embarked on a U.S. tour with Finland's Children of Bodom and Skeletonwitch. The band headlined the Bonecrusher Fest tour of Europe in Spring 2010 alongside 3 Inches of Blood, Necrophobic, Obscura, The Faceless, Carnifex and Ingested. In August 2010 they played at the Hevy Music Festival near Folkestone, UK; the band played the entire Warped Tour 2013. As a tribute to the 10th anniversary of the Nocturnal album, they headlined the 2017 Summer Slaughter Tour, performing the album in its entirety. [25]

Musical style and influences

Co-founder and the band's leading songwriter Brian Eschbach

The Black Dahlia Murder has been described as melodic death metal,[26][27][28][29] their style combines characteristics of melodic death metal with those of traditional American death metal, such as high speeds, blast beats and growled vocals. Furthermore, the style of their 2001 demo What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse has been described as metalcore,[30] and the band's later work is sometimes also labeled as such.

Influences for the band include heavy metal bands such as Carcass, At the Gates, Darkane, Dissection, Darkthrone, Morbid Angel, The Haunted, In Flames, Dimension Zero, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Pantera and Megadeth.[citation needed] Vocalist Trevor Strnad has cited on many occasions that he is primarily influenced by Carcass in vocalizing technique.[citation needed]

When asked to describe what kind of music the band plays, Strnad commented:

"I've always said that we're melodic death metal. We are mostly influenced by Swedish bands and Carcass; the heavy end of our sound is the American style creeping in, with some Floridian influences like Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation and that kind of stuff. We've been labeled more often because of our look than our sound, which is dumb, and speaks volumes about what kind of geniuses are out there!"[31] However, in an interview with Uranium Magazine, Strnad also stated, "Some bands that get labeled as metalcore are actually good, like Between the Buried and Me or The Red Chord. Metal is what I grew up with, and then I learned about punk and hardcore, but a lot of our ethics, the way we carry ourselves, is more punk... I like that hardcore has a sense of community without the competition you see in metal."[32]




Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Year Album details Peak chart positions


Hard Rock
2003 Unhallowed
  • Released: June 17, 2003
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
2005 Miasma
  • Released: July 12, 2005
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
118 1 5
2007 Nocturnal
  • Released: September 18, 2007
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download
72 6 20 7
2009 Deflorate
  • Released: September 15, 2009
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
43 5 15 4
2011 Ritual
  • Released: June 17, 2011
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
31 6 9 3
2013 Everblack
  • Released: June 11, 2013
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
32 9 13 3 91
2015 Abysmal
  • Released: September 18, 2015
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
45 12 15 8 66
2017 Nightbringers
  • Released: October 6, 2017
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Format: CD, digital download, vinyl
35 3 6 3 47
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Demos and EPs

Music videos

Year Song Director
2003 "Funeral Thirst"
2006 "A Vulgar Picture"
"Miasma" Joe Lynch[39]
"Statutory Ape"
2007 "Everything Went Black"
"What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse"
2009 "Necropolis"
2011 "Moonlight Equilibrium" Dave Brodsky[40]
2013 "Goat of Departure"
2015 "Receipt" Robert Graves[41]
2016 "Threat Level No. 3" Adam Avilla[42]


  • Majesty (May 12, 2009)
  • Fool 'Em All (May 27, 2014)


  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "The Black Dahlia Murder > Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  2. ^ Harris, Chris; Wiederhorn, Jon (2006-04-27). "Metal File: Overcast, Black Dahlia Murder, Nevermore, D.R.I. & More News That Rules". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  3. ^ Billboard 200.
  4. ^ Billboard 200.
  5. ^ "Summer Slaughter Tour Dates". Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  6. ^ "District Lines". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-26. Retrieved 2017-06-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Heavy Metal". Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  9. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder Completes Songwriting Process For New Album". February 22, 2011. Archived from the original on February 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  10. ^ a b c "The Black Dahlia Murder | Ritual". 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  11. ^ Amon Amarth: European Headlining Tour With The Black Dahlia Murder Announced |date=December 18, 2010,
  12. ^ The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel To Headline 'Summer Slaughter Tour' |date=March 31, 2011,
  13. ^ a b c "A389-152 THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Grind 'Em All". A389 Recordings. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Tyler, Sharp (November 28, 2014). "The Black Dahlia Murder stream Grind 'Em All covers seven-inch". Alternative Press. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Rosenberg, Axl (October 2, 2014). "Grind 'Em All: The Black Dahlia Murder to Release 7" Covers EP for Black Friday". MetalSucks. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  16. ^ Rosenberg, Axl (November 25, 2014). "The Black Dahlia Murder Streaming Black Dahlia Friday Release, Grind 'Em All". MetalSucks. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  17. ^ Neilstein, Vince (February 6, 2015). "New Black Dahlia Murder Album Coming Out This Year; Guitarist Ryan Knight Working on Solo Album". MetalSucks. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  18. ^ Pasbani, Robert (February 6, 2015). "The Black Dahlia Murder Guitarist Ryan Knight Hopes To Release Solo Album This Year". Metal Injection. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  19. ^ Munro, Scott (February 9, 2015). "The Black Dahlia Murder Eye 2015 Release". Metal Hammer. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c "Vlad, Son of the Dragon". The Black Dahlia Murder on Facebook. June 24, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  21. ^ "Another new song will be up and rocking this coming Wednesday the 22nd". The Black Dahlia Murder on Facebook. July 17, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  22. ^ Reynolds, Dabbie (August 19, 2015). "The Black Dahlia Murder's Weed Adventures and Song Premiere". High Times. Retrieved August 20, 2015. sure to keep scrolling down to preview [The Black Dahlia Murder's] brand-new track, "Threat Level Number Three."
  23. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder To Perform Entire 'Unhallowed' Album; Band Announces Split With RYAN KNIGHT". Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  24. ^ "Summer Slaughter Tour". 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  25. ^ "The Summer Slaughter Tour 2017". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  26. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder". Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  27. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (December 5, 2005). New Wave of American Heavy Metal (page 309: "Metalcore act Detroit's The Black Dahlia Murder issued the 2001 demo 'What a Horrible Night to have a Curse'".). Zonda Books Limited. ISBN 978-0958268400.
  28. ^ Peise, Steffen (2012). Original and Adaption Rock & Pop Music (page 13: "However, they regularly take the song "Elder Misanthropy" by the American metalcore band The Black Dahlia ...'".).
  29. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder". Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  30. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder Bassist on New CD: 'it's Just As Brutal As Anything We've Done Before'". Way Too Loud. August 6, 2007. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  31. ^ "Interview of: Trevor Strnad - The Black Dahlia Murder". Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  32. ^ [1] Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  34. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder – Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  35. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder – Chart History: Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  36. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder – Chart History: Top Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  37. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder – Chart History: Hard Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  38. ^ "Chartverfolgung / The Black Dahlia Murder / Longplay" (in German). Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  39. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder "Miasma" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  40. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder "Moonlight Equilibrium" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  41. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder "Receipt" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  42. ^ "The Black Dahlia Murder "Threat Level No. 3" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2016.

External links