The Black Dahlia Murder is an American heavy metal band from Waterford, Michigan, formed in 2000. Their name is derived from the 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, often referred to as Black Dahlia. The band comprises vocalist Trevor Strnad, guitarists Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight, bassist Ryan "Bart" Williams and drummer Shannon Lucas. Out of their five studio albums, the latest four of them charted on the US Billboard 200, with 2009's Deflorate peaking at #43 and their latest album Ritual reaching #31.
Formation, Unhallowed and Miasma (2001-2006):
The Black Dahlia Murder began its inception during late 2000 and gained the final band line-up 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.
Current 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. 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 #118 on the Billboard 200. 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):
Their third album, entitled Nocturnal, was released on September 18, 2007. The album debuted at #72 on the Billboard 200. 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" with Kataklysm, Cryptopsy, Vader, Whitechapel, and Despised Icon.
Their long-time guitarist, John K has 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.
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 #43 Billboard's Top 200 charts, #5 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart, #4 on Billboard's Top Hard Music Albums chart, and #50 on HITS Top 50 Albums chart. 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.
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. 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. 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. A music video for "Moonlight Equilibrium" was released on February 20, 2012.
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. In late 2008, they joined a US 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 has since been confirmed by Revolver Magazine that they are on tour. They appeared on the Hot Topic Stage in the 2009 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. In late 2009, they embarked on a US 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.
Musical style and influences
The Black Dahlia Murder have been stated to play within the genres of melodic death metal,metalcore, and deathcore. The band's music makes use of the melodic death metal sound, but containing high speeds, blast beats and occasional growled vocals instead of the typical screams usually heard in melodic death metal. Influences for the band include groups 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. Vocalist, Trevor Strnad has cited on many occasions that he primarily influenced by Carcass in vocalizing technique.
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!" 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."
Brian Eschbach - rhythm guitar (since 2001),
Trevor Strnad - vocals (since 2001),
Ryan Williams - bass guitar (since 2005),
Shannon Lucas - drums (since 2007),
Ryan Knight - lead guitar (since 2009),
John Deering - lead guitar (2001-2002),
John Kempainen - lead guitar (2002-2008),
Mike Schepman - bass guitar (2001),
Sean Gauvreau - bass guitar (2001-2002),
David Lock - bass guitar (2002-2005),
Cory Grady - drums (2001-2004),
Zach Gibson - drums (2005),
Pierre Langlois - drums (2006)