Our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list presents the music of an American band distinguished for its melodic death metal. The band’s sound is inspired by Carcass, Morbid Angel, Judas Priest, and several Swedish acts, including At the Gates, In Flames, Dissection, and Darkane. Founded in 2001, The Black Dahlia Murder has retained its Gothenburg-inspired sound, with most of the songs featuring lightning-fast guitar riffs and boisterous raspy/growling vocals.
The Black Dahlia Murder’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
Soon after its formation, the band released its first demo, What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse. Despite the band being branded as a melodic death metal act, its first demo’s sound was solely metalcore. However, a change to the melodic death metal sound was actualized with the band’s first EP, A Cold-Blooded Epitaph. Issued in early 2002, the EP featured the band’s cover of “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones.
The band went on to show up in concerts, including the Milwaukee Metal Fest, where it started gaining quite some following. Eventually, the band bagged a recording contract with Metal Blade Records in 2003. The record label has been home to other reputable metal acts, including Killswitch Engage, Merciful Fate, Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, Whitechapel, and Lizzy Borden.
In June 2003, the band issued its debut album Unhallowed through Metal Blade Records. Unhallowed saw the band take on melodic death metal featuring ten songs, two of which were previously released through the band’s debut EP, A Cold-Blooded Epitaph. “Funeral Thirst,” “Apex,” “Contagion,” and “Elder Misanthropy” are some of the best The Black Dahlia Murder songs from Unhallowed. While the album failed to rise to the charts, it marked the band’s breakthrough in the mainstream.
The Black Dahlia Murder’s Album Releases over the Years
After the success of Unhallowed, the band was motivated to issue more releases to entertain its massively growing following. Its next release was Miasma, issued in 2005. The ten-track album marked the band’s first album to make it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number eighteen. Miasma also topped the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Some of the musical gems from the album include “A Vulgar Picture,” “Miasma,” and “Statutory Ape.”
The Black Dahlia Murder returned in 2007 with its third studio album, Nocturnal. Nocturnal was a success, peaking at number seventy-two on the Billboard 200. Like the band’s previous two LPs, Nocturnal saw the band maintain its melodic death metal sound. “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse,” “Deathmask Divine,” and “Everything Went Black” are some of the biggest songs by The Black Dahlia Murder from the album.
Deflorate, issued in 2009, marked the band’s fourth studio album. The album was critically acclaimed, having it rise to a peak position of number forty-three on the Billboard 200. Deflorate also made it to number fifty-two on the Canada Billboard Charts, peaking at number fifty-two. “Necropolis,” “Black Valor,” “I Will Return,” and “A Selection Unnatural” are some of the best The Black Dahlia Murder songs from the album.
The Black Dahlia Murder went on to release its fifth studio album, Ritual, in 2011. Ritual is home to some of the best The Black Dahlia Murder songs, including “Moonlight Equilibrium,” “The Widow,” and “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood.” The album went on to rise to a peak position of number thirty-one on the Billboard 200. Ritual was followed by the band’s sixth studio album, Everblack, in 2013. Everblack also made it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number thirty-two on the Billboard 200. “Into the Everblack,” “In Hell is Where She Waits for Me,” and “Goat of Departure” are some of the most popular songs by The Black Dahlia Murder.
In 2015, The Black Dahlia Murder returned with its seventh studio album entitled Abysmal. Abysmal was a success charting in the US, Germany, and Belgium. The album managed to rise to a peak position of number forty-five on the Billboard 200. “Receipt,” “Threat Level No. 3,” and “Vlad, Son of the Dragon” are some of the best The Black Dahlia Murder songs from Abysmal.
Nightbringers, issued in 2017, marked the band’s eighth studio album. The album is one of the band’s and the record label’s best-selling releases. Nightbringers managed to rise to the thirty-fifth spot on the Billboard 200. The album is home to musical gems by The Black Dahlia Murder, including “Nightbringers,” “Windowmaker,” “Matriarch,” and Kings of the Nightworld.”
In 2020, the band released its most recent studio album, Verminous. The album peaked at number ninety-nine on the Billboard 200. “Removal of the Oaken Stake,” “Sunless Empire,” “Verminous,” and “Child of Night” are some of the best The Black Dahlia Murder songs from the album. Unfortunately, this was the last album to feature lead vocalist Trevor Strnad, who died in 2022.
The Black Dahlia Murder’s Legacy
Since its debut album, The Black Dahlia Murder remains a force to reckon with in the melodic death metal scene. Together with bands like Soilwork, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, and Arch Enemy, The Black Dahlia Murder helped push on the melodic death metal sound in the early 2000s. However, The Black Dahlia Murder failed to achieve as much success as bands like Killswitch Engage, Bullet for My Valentine, Atreyu, Shadows Fall, and Unearth in the melodic death metal scene. Here we present the ten best songs by The Black Dahlia Murder.
#10 – Moonlight Equilibrium
Ushering us to the top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs is the rip-roaring hit “Moonlight Equilibrium.” The song is featured on the band’s fifth studio album, Ritual. Vocalist Trevor Strnad revealed that Ritual was the band’s most focused release of all time, following its songs being quite tied and related.
“Moonlight Equilibrium” is subtitled “Ritual of Transformation.” The song alludes to a mystic beast of alteration. Vocalist Trevor Strnad is credited with having written the song’s lyrics continuing his role as the band’s lyrical genius.
#9 – Nightbringers
“Nightbringers” is among refined melodic death metal songs by The Black Dahlia Murder. However, this doesn’t compromise the band’s usual fast-paced guitar riffs and inspired solos. Vocalist Trevor Strnad maintains his usual growls and screams. “Nightbringers” is reminiscent of the band’s musical catalog from its first album to receive critical and mainstream acclaim, Nocturnal.
The song serves as the album title track to the band’s thirty-three-minute, nine-track eighth studio album. “Nightbringers” was first premiered on the 2017 Summer Slaughter Tour, where The Black Dahlia Murder and Dying Fetus were the headlining acts. After its release, fans and critics lauded the song’s heavy guitar riffs that ooze spellbinding darkness.
#8 – I Will Return
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list is the electrifying hit “I Will Return.” The song is among the musical gems featured on the band’s fourth studio album, Deflorate. “I Will Return” is a fan favorite, thanks to the individual brilliance of Trevor Strnad and its overall instrumentation.
Trevor delivers some masterful lyricism exploring the idea of cryogenic freezing metaphorically. His brutal yet bewitching vocals form yet another reason why “I Will Return” is among The Black Dahlia Murder’s best songs of all time.
#7 – Goat of Departure
The Black Dahlia Murder’s vocalist Trevor had by far established himself as a walking encyclopedia of everything to do with metal culture. “Goat of Departure” is enough proof for this claim, especially when one analyses its themes and lyrical meaning. The song has been cited to be The Black Dahlia Murder’s release that pays tribute to the goat’s role in the metal scene.
Trevor revealed that “Goat of Departure” alludes to the goat used in the Christian religion as a representation of the sins of the believers and the ancestries of the famous metal hand sign. The singer also added that the ‘horns’ hand sign remains the emblem of the pride of metal music lovers. “Goat of Departure” is among the biggest songs by The Black Dahlia Murder from the band’s sixth LP, Everblack.
#6 – Receipt
Number six on our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list is the furious hit “Receipt.” The song is featured as the lead track to the band’s seventh studio album, Abysmal. The song’s lyrics were penned by Trevor Strnad. Its lyrics allude to suicidal thoughts crossing one’s mind. “Receipt” is among songs referential to his words that metal music remains to be one of the healthiest ways to let go of negative energy.
Would this negative energy come to haunt the singer? Fast forward to May 2022, Trevor met his death with his fellow band members, leaving a notification on the band’s social media that suggested suicide as the cause of his death. Robb Flynn of Machine Head revealed that Trevor mentioned struggles with depression some while ago in his podcast. While we are left to pick up leads to his death cause, Trevor remains an icon of modern metal to his fans and to Matt Heafy of Trivium, as he quoted.
#5 – Necropolis
We return to the band’s 2009 fourth studio album Deflorate where we find the fifth pick of our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs, “Necropolis.” The song was penned by the lyrical mastermind of the band, the late Trevor Strnad. “Necropolis” is among the songs by the band that boasts of the band’s unrestricted musical brutality. Like most of the songs from the album, “Necropolis” is about an attractive yet wicked death trip.
#4 – What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
A few months after its inception, The Black Dahlia Murder released a demo under the title What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse. The band later released a song with the same title as its first demo. Initially, the title was inspired by a phrase featured on the 1988 NES video game entitled Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
The song would later be featured on the soundtrack of the 2008 action-adventure game Saints Row 2. Other artists whose songs are featured on the soundtrack of Saints Row 2 include Opeth, As I Lay Dying, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and Avenged Sevenfold. “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” was among the biggest hits by The Black Dahlia Murder from Nocturnal.
#3 – A Vulgar Picture
The third pick of our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list takes us to the band’s first album to make it to the Billboard 200, Miasma. “A Vulgar Picture” is among the songs that catapulted the band to mainstream success. The song is a true lyrical masterpiece despite featuring a dark story. This only serves as a great exemplification of Trevor’s creativity. The song’s heavy guitar riffs and inspirational solos also add to the song’s brilliance.
#2 – Statutory Ape
We return to the band’s sophomore album, Miasma, where we find “Statutory Ape,” the second pick for our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list. “Statutory Ape” has its intro allude to the intentions of a soldier on the battlefield. The song is metaphorically alluding to the end of the world, “The Final Reckoning,” as cited in Christian Bible.
In this song, the narrator feels that the fight being fought is sanctified by the Lord having the soldiers act in his place to administer the final judgment. “Statutory Ape” was rearranged by musician Paul Cunningham for a string quartet proving it to be among the fan-favorite tracks by The Black Dahlia Murder.
#1 – Funeral Thirst
Number one on our top 10 The Black Dahlia Murder songs list is the alluring hit “Funeral Thirst.” The song is the most popular song from the band’s debut album, Unhallowed. While the band’s debut album was never a commercial success, it helped the band gain a cult following thanks to concert staples like “Funeral Thirst.”
The song alludes to a dead body being reawakened as a zombie. After the resurrection of the dead body (now the zombie), it rises from its coffin roaming in pursuit of some flesh. “Funeral Thirst” is just another revelation of Trevor’s love for horror themes for song lyrics.
Feature Photo: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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