Music: The Black Dahlia Murder

circa 2013

The Black Dahlia Murder are an American Melodic Death Metal band hailing from Detroit and formed in 2001. They released a demo entitled What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, and a four-track EP, A Cold-Blooded Epitaph. Soon afterwards, they were signed onto Metal Blade Records and have stayed there for all of their albums as on 2013.

For the third album, they toured alongside with Cannibal Corpse, Æon, The Red Chord, Goatwhore and The Absence in 2007, and again in 2008 with 3 Inches Of Blood, Hate Eternal, and Decrepit Birth, followed by another alongside Brain Drill and Animosity. John K has left the band and was replaced by Ryan Knight of Arsis fame during the beginning of 2009

In February 2011, The Black Dahlia Murder completed the songwriting process for the their fifth studio album, entitled Ritual. It was released on June 21, 2011 in North America to outstanding critical acclaim. The band supported Amon Amarth on their May 2011 European tour, as well as headlined the 2011 Summer Slaughter tour, both in support of Ritual. All was going well until Shannon Lucas announced that he was leaving to pursue other career paths, with Alan filling in as support before joining full-time. Despite their leaving, they announced that they would continue writing music. In 2013, Everblack was completed and announced for a Summer Release.


  • Trevor Strnad – vocals (2001–present)
  • Brian Eschbach – rhythm guitar (2001–present)
  • Ryan Knight – lead guitar (2009–present)
  • Max Lavelle – bass guitar (2012–present)
  • Alan Cassidy – drums (2012–present)

Notable Past Members:


  • Unhallowed (2003)
  • Miasma (2005)
  • Nocturnal (2007)
  • Deflorate (2009)
  • Ritual (2011)
  • Everblack (2013)


  • Afterlife Express: "On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood" with a side of Flying Dutchman.
  • Big Fun: Trevor Strnad. Shannon Lucas was also this, and it led to lots of "TBDM = melodic death played by a bunch of hairy fat guys" jokes.
  • Body Horror: An occasional theme, with "A Selection Unnatural" (about a horribly deformed baby) being one of the more notable examples.
  • Carpet of Virility: Many a joke was cracked about Shannon Lucas' extreme amounts of body hair.
  • Darker and Edgier: This could be said both musically and lyrically for Melodeath standards.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: "Nocturnal", with the court being a secret society of vampires who really want to try and bring about eternal night.
    • Also, the cover art for Deflorate.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first demo, which was pretty straightforward (if not somewhat more aggressive) melodic metalcore with none of the horror themes that would later become their trademark.
  • God Is Evil: "Their Beloved Absentee".
  • I Love the Dead: One of Trevor's most common lyrical themes. Listing all the examples would be exhausting.
  • Lead Bassist: Max Lavelle is a type A.
  • The Legions of Hell: "Black Valor".
  • Meaningful Name: Their name is taken from the infamous 1947 Hollywood murder, never solved, of a young woman named Elizabeth Short who was cut in half at the torso, given a Glasgow smile, and drained of her blood. This is fitting as they commonly have horror-related lyrical themes, and they finally did a song about the titular murder on Everblack with "In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me".
  • Melodic Death Metal: Probably one of the heaviest bands in the genre, if not the heaviest.
  • Metal Scream: Strnad is known for his vocal chord-crackling type 3 shrieks, but he also throws in type 2's here and there.
  • Miniscule Rocking:
    • Nocturnal gives us "I Worship Only What You Bleed"
    • Deflorate has "Death Panorama"
    • "Den of the Picquerist" off Ritual.
  • Metalcore: The band had small influences in their older albums. This sound crept up a little bit here and there on Unhallowed and made more of a comeback on Miasma before disappearing altogether on Nocturnal.
    • And despite this, they still get the metalcore tag, solely because of their older days when they looked more like hardcore musicians.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: They solidly stay at a hard 10/borderline 11, though some songs can go down to a very hard 9 or even climb up to 11, a huge feat for a melodeath band.
    • For specific songs, the title track off Miasma is a hard 9, "Into The Everblack" from Everblack is a hard 10, "Climatic Degradation" and "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", both from Nocturnal, are borderline 11's, and "A Vulgar Picture" from Miasma is a soft 11.note 
  • Mood Whiplash: The opening track to Ritual, "A Shrine to Madness", opens with a baroque classical melody... Before all the brutality of the band's signature sound is thrown in.
  • New Sound Album: Several:
    • Unhallowed was where they fully took the plunge into melodic death metal that was hinted at on their second demo and A Cold-Blooded Epitaph.
    • Nocturnal was where they shed the last of their metalcore elements and started playing up their heavier influences. Part of this could be owed to the presence of Shannon Lucas, who was far more capable than Grady or Gibson.
    • Ritual was where the brutal death influences started taking a prominent role, in addition to experimenting with mid-paced songs heavily influenced by Obituary and Morbid Angel.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Great Burning Nullifier". They sure do love weed.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "Moonlight Equilibrium", where the lycanthropy seems to be a genetic curse.
  • People Farms: "Blood Mine", where humans are being factory-farmed by a race of vampires.
  • Revolving Door Band
  • Sampling: Unhallowed made good use of this.
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Inverted: from what is seen from the music videos, the band members appear to be nice, fun-loving metalheads, and people who have met them or toured with them will back this up. But their music is dark, brutal and extremely crushing.
  • Signature Style: Blazing, aggressive melodic death metal with extremely fast drumming, chainsaw guitar riffs, Trevor Strnad's signature ear-splitting screeches, and very noticeable brutal death metal influences. Ryan Knight's lead style is also instantly recognizable, with heavy usage of legato and tapping as well as a general blues-shred feel, though he does occasionally go for a more neoclassical feel.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Miasma means noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
  • Spiritual Successor: To some, for Hypocrisy and At The Gates.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Start My Own: Lock and Gibson (along with Mike McKenzie from The Red Chord and several other people) started Nightkin in 2012, while Williams started Necromancing the Stone with James Malone, Jeramie Kling from The Absence, and several others.
  • Take That: "Denounced, Disgraced" may or may not have been one to former guitarist John Kempainen; the circumstances of his departure were apparently not at all amicable, but the band has said nothing on the matter. Furthermore, he's been out for so long that it's effectively a moot point by now.
  • Up to Eleven: They did this to Melodic Death Metal... And how.
  • X Meets Y: At The Gates and Hypocrisy meet Hate Eternal and Suffocation.