GIG REVIEW: THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Live at Trees, Dallas, TX
It was a pleasant Tuesday evening as I took the evening train to Deep Ellum, right in the heart of Dallas, Texas. I did not know what to expect from this gig, as the mood seemed eerily somber. As I made my way to the venue, I saw Allan Cassidy and Brain Eshbach from The Black Dahlia Murder just chilling outside, smoking cigarettes; I just waived at them and they waived back.
I made my way into The Trees, one of Dallas’s most revered and respected venues. The stage was very close and accessible to the audience and I felt quite happy about that. There are larger venues where you go to see tiny-sized versions of your heroes that you so adoringly enjoy watching on YouTube, courtesy of PRO-SHOT footage.
I spoke to a couple of people there, just to sink into the vibe of the surrounding. A couple of metalheads were sizing up the pit, and that’s when I knew, all hell was going to break loose. The first band to perform was Artificial Brain from Valley Stream, New York; I was not exposed to this band so their set was entirely new to me. They played a very riveting set, with the highlight being their song “Absorbing Black Ignition”, which co-incidentally ended up on a 2014 episode of the American CBS television show ‘Elementary’. Artificial Brain turned out to be just your old-school death metal folks with some of the most down-tuned riffs I’ve seen in a while.
The second band to take the stage was Entheos, And they were indeed a pleasant surprise. Their sound had a very unique blend of Death Metal and Progressive Metal with some electronic influences. They reminded me of Death, and that’s saying something. Their set was tight, with insane bass work by the highly gifted Evan Brewar, crazy drum syncopations by Navene Koperweis, a textured riff assault by Frank Costa and a brutal vocal assault by Chaney Crabb. If this band is not on your radar yet, it had better be now.
Next on stage, were thrash metallers Iron Reagan from Richmond, Virginia. I was a bit shocked to see them as they looked like dudes from the late 70’s; they were quite funny on stage but had the chops to show that they deserve to be where they are. This was no-nonsense thrash metal with some punk influences. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a lot of their songs because I was in the pit. Don’t hold it against me.
Following Iron Reagan were the super-drunk, anti-Christian group – Goatwhore. Armed with artificial bracelets and a mean set of songs, they unleashed a non-diluted barrage of death-thrash songs. Almost all of them had a mean solo section and mid-song commentary on how much they hated Christianity (I guess it was the alcohol talking). At one point while helping a stage-diver, the vocalist fell into the drums. It was all in good fun and everyone had a nice big laugh.
Next up were the headliners, And that was when my teenage dreams had now come to a reality. The Black Dahlia Murder spent no time mucking about and ripped open the pit with “Receipt” off their new album ‘Abysmal’. It went absolutely mental from there on, with the highlights of the show being “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse”, “Moonlight Equilbrium”, “Everything Went Black”, and “A Vulgar Picture”. Trevor Strnad’s vocals are as brutal as his sense of humour; the man knows how to handle a crowd. His partner-in-crime on guitar duties was Brain Eshbach, who was equally funny. The rhythm section was an insanely fast-paced and hauntingly accurate combination of Alan Cassidy on drums and Max Lavelle on bass. To top it all off, we had Ryan Knight on leads, with his signature solos that melted all faces in the crowd and then some more. I still cannot forget the feeling I got when they played “Miasma”. That’s when I knew, I could check something off my bucket list.
If you’re looking to scratch your death-metal itch and have a fun time doing so, look no further than The Black Dahlia Murder. I walked out that venue like I was 18 years old again, and I can’t wait till they come back to Dallas again.