When the Black Dahlia Murder’s last album, “Ritual”, came out in 2011- it was a behemoth and quite possibly the band’s best work to date. The Detroit melodic death metal band delivered a truly punishing effort and the metal world gushed over it.
But at the end of the cycle, the winds of changes were coming to the band. Longtime bassist Ryan “Bart” Williams left the band to pursue music production full time, and drummer Shannon Lucas left the band as well. It left the band at a crossroads, but the band didn’t hesitate on adding new members to their ranks. In the spring of 2012, former Despised Icon bassist Max Lavelle came into the fold and had to hit the ground running.
”I had to step into a 16 song set right away, and had to learn about 23 or 24 songs right away” said Lavelle when speaking with him over the phone recently. In order to win the job, Lavelle had to jump through a few hoops: “I had to fly to Detroit from Boston, and create 16 separate videos for the audition, and totally had to redo things once more for the audition”. Obviously, the audition went well, but not without some difficulty with some of the songs. “Everything Went Black was probably the toughest song to pick up. “Nocturnal” and “The Window” were pretty tough as well.”
Stepping into the shoes for Williams has been a pretty smooth transition, and Lavelle describes what he brings to the table: “It’s all about playing hard and being there. Bart was great and I think I bring a great stage contribution and a good vibe to the live show”. But even with Williams leaving, don’t think that he wasn’t a part of the process- according to Lavelle, he was instrumental to the engineering and production process.
As Lavelle got settled into the band mix, the band were primed to make a major statement. “I think we’re pushing things musically and it still has that melodic death metal sound. But at the same time, the writing of songs was a lot better, a little more grown up and more mature”. If you’ve gotten a musical taste of the new album, there’s a bit more black metal influence in some of the music, and there’s sure to be a song or two that will surprise some fans, according to Lavelle: “Every Rope and Noose” is going to sound a little bit different. It’s a metal song with very cool harmonies. There are some songs that are not as punishing with blast beats, and even an acoustic part on the album”.
With “Everblack” out now, the band plans to build upon the success of the past few albums and Lavelle’s past tour of duty in Despised Icon helped him get ready for this moment: “Everything prepares you for next step in life. Being in Despised Icon, we covered a lot of ground and I toured the world in the 3 years I was in the band. You learned to develop your efficiency and your traveling skills”. For the guys in Black Dahlia Murder and their fans, the first time the two groups will converge is at this year’s Warped Tour. Even though Despised Icon were never a part of Warped, Lavelle knows all too well that you gotta grab the fans’ attention early: “We’re gonna be playing to people that have no idea what we’re about. We’re gonna sprint through the ‘Everblack’ songs and win people over and kill it on stage”.
With the tour on the horizon and a new album about to bust about wide open, it’s hard for Max to contain his excitement for the album: “My excitement level is a 12 out of 10 right now. I’m so stoked about it and people are gonna like it a lot”.
The Black Dahlia Murder’s new album, “Everblack” is out now on Metal Blade Records. The band will be a part of the Warped Tour when it comes to the Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday, July 19th. Tour and band info can be found at www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial.