The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel

The Black Dahlia Murder

Whitechapel

Fleshgod Apocalypse, Aversions Crown, Shadow Of Intent

Sat, July 7, 2018

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:30 pm (event ends at 11:30 pm)

$25.00

The Black Dahlia Murder will be playing the album “Nightbringers” in its entirety + more, and Whitechapel playing “This is Exile” in its entirety.

The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder is a renown American death metal band known for their explosive live performance.

Any band that has earned an army of devout followers through dropping seven killer full-lengths - and touring their collective ass off for sixteen years - could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they could take it easy as they wade into their eighth release. But that's just not The Black Dahlia Murder's style, and Nightbringers is testament to that. Having released their most accomplished, aggressive, and emotionally diverse music to date in the form of 2015's Abysmal, the Michigan quintet have once more pushed themselves to new heights, and the 34 minutes of searing melodic death metal that comprises Nightbringers is riveting listening. "I always feel a responsibility to the people who support this band when we start making a new record," asserts vocalist Trevor Strnad. "The pressure that comes from people being excited to hear what you come up with next can be intimidating, but it's so exciting that those people love you so much for just doing what you do. It makes you want to honor what you've done in the past, but also excite them with where you go next, and that definitely drove us on 'Nightbringers'. When we started writing I honestly didn't know we had this album in us, and I feel really proud of it. It's a great moment for us."

Rather than meticulously plan things out or stick rigidly to any kind of template, when it comes to writing, The Black Dahlia Murder prefer to let things happen organically. In the hands of guitarist Brian Eschbach - who co-founded the band with Strnad in 2001 - and new recruit Brandon Ellis (Arsis, ex-Cannabis Corpse), Nightbringers is rich with dynamic riffs that are at once fresh and classic TBDM, resulting in a collection that shifts through many moods and effortlessly incorporates various elements of extreme metal. With guitarist Ryan Knight having amicably stepped down in 2016, the addition of twenty-four-year-old Ellis to the band's ranks has helped usher in an exciting new era. "He's very professional for his age, I think he's skilled far beyond his years, and his live energy is exceptional. When Max (Lavelle, bass) joined the band he challenged a lot of us on stage to raise our personal bar, and Brandon's pushed that even further," states Strnad. "Brandon coming into the band and writing a bunch of songs was an awesome surprise too. He really took the reins, and this record is also the most involved that Alan (Cassidy drums) has been too. The way that we were doing the demos and bouncing things back and forth he had a lot of room to do what he wanted to do, and I think it's definitely a more colorful album for that. I also think as we get older the emotional content goes up. I think we better realize how to grip the listener. Personally, I try to write lyrics that are going to match each part, and kind of ramp up those feelings that we're putting across." Strnad's statements are vividly borne out by every moment of Nightbringers. For fans attending 2017's Summer Slaughter tour, the first taste of of the record came with the inclusion of the title track in their set, which has an undeniable immediacy to it, rich with hooks and boasting a "circusy, evil and playful" air. By contrast, "Catacomb Hecatomb" is suffused with tragedy, the mournful tone of its slower passages deeply affecting. This too is dramatically different to "As Good As Dead", which has some swagger to it that Strnad likens to Megadeth, or "Matriarch", described by Eschbach as a "wild, neoclassical romp" and stands as one of the most cutthroat and all out aggressive tracks in the quintet's arsenal. Upon first hearing the latter, Strnad was intent on matching its visceral intensity. "I felt inspired to write very violent lyrics to it. It's told from the perspective of a woman who is trying to have a child and not having any luck, and she goes kind of crazy and stalks this other woman who is due to have a child. She finds her moment to take it from her, cutting it right out of her stomach." While Strnad explores a variety of themes and ideas with his lyrics, they are united by the album's title, which embraces a tenet that has been central to The Black Dahlia Murder's output since the very beginning. "Death metal and nighttime are synonymous to me. We are the rulers of the darkened hours that the Christian good fears. A lot of archaic ideas that are still upheld - such as marriage and monogamy - came from Christianity, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, and to me, death metal has always been bucking that. It's 'being-the-villain music', because we're the enemy of Christianity, the enemy of all that is good and traditional. Death metal is for free thinkers, it's for showing people the path to inner strength and operating on your own will, instead of being told what to do and living in fear, and songs like the title track and 'Kings Of The Nightworld' are about leading a legion of awakened minds into battle." Following this theme also motivated Strnad to forge into ever-darker territory, even when this meant tearing things up and starting over. "I felt I needed to rise to the occasion to make as much of the blood and guts and heinousness as possible, and there was actually a couple of points where I rewrote some songs. I just didn't feel like they were dark enough, or violent enough, so I was really trying to ramp up the monstrous aspects of things - the grizzlier the better!"

Rather than decamp to a single studio, the members split off when it came time to start laying down the songs - all well versed in how to get the best out of their individual performances. With former bassist Ryan Williams once again assisting, the drums were tracked at The Pipe Yard in Plymouth, Michigan and rhythm guitars and bass in the band's practice space in Warren, Michigan. Ellis then recorded his many blistering solos in his home studio, while Strnad opted to record at his home in Auburn Hills, Michigan with Joe Cincotta (Suffocation, Internal Bleeding) of Full Force Studios overseeing his sessions. For the unique and haunting cover art they turned to Kristian Wahlin, aka Necrolord, who has designed seminal artwork for the likes of At The Gates, Bathory, Emperor and also TBDM's 2007 release, Nocturnal. "I think he's the most prominent artist when it comes to classic releases in the melodic death metal genre, and kind of bringing things full circle with it being the ten-year anniversary of 'Nocturnal' felt right. By now people probably wouldn't have expected us to go back to him, so it's kind of a surprise, but at the same time it's a very classic cover too." With the band celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the aforementioned album by playing it in its entirety on Summer Slaughter, it has given them a moment to reflect not only on the road that has led them to here but also that which lies ahead. "When I think back to when we started the band, I feel very proud of everything we've done, and I also see a lot of improvement over the years," says Strnad. "In the early songs, I can hear us as kids, and then segueing into our adulthood as musicians and writers, but sixteen years in, I still feel young as a band. I feel like we have a shit ton left to do, and I think we're sitting pretty with the best lineup we've ever had. I also think 'Nightbringers' could be our finest hour yet. I feel very strongly that it will affect people, I want to get all of these songs in people's ears, and I want them to check out everything we've got on this record. There's so much variety and so many great ideas, and I think that this could take us to another place."
Whitechapel
Whitechapel
Returning with the fifth full-length of their decimating career, there is no stopping the juggernaut that is Whitechapel. Our Endless War is the culmination of everything the Knoxville, Tennessee sextet have worked toward since their inception. A ruthlessly honed album that refuses to compromise on brutality, it is also by far their most streamlined, atmospheric, and emotionally powerful release, pushing every aspect of their sound to the next level. "The record grasps everything that we've done thus far," states guitarist Alex Wade. "It's got some of the elements from Whitechapel (2012), but also some from A New Era Of Corruption (2010) and This Is Exile (2008). It brings back the blastbeats and really aggressive sounding stuff from those earlier records, but it also has a lot of layers and some slower, more groove-oriented songs, which have become a big part of what we do."

Having progressed with every record, on Whitechapel the band took a stylistic leap forward, garnering a whole army of new fans and greater critical respect in the process. Looking back on the record Wade is grateful for the doors it kicked down, but refusing to ever be satisfied has served as a profound motivator in the band's evolution. "Whitechapel is a record that we all loved and put a lot of effort into, and I believe that was the beginning of us maturing our sound. But, two years later I feel that there were only four or five really good songs on there, while on Our Endless War I feel like every song is a great song. There's no filler, there's nothing there for the sake of it, and I stand behind everything we put into it." This determination is immediately apparent. Having started to "seriously" write in February of 2013, the album was a year in the making, the band letting the writing develop organically while putting everything under a microscope, working harder on perfecting every song than they ever had before. "As we get older we're learning how to write better songs. Earlier on in our career there was a lot of piecing riffs together, but now we sit back and really analyze every aspect of what we're doing on a song, and I think that shows."

For vocalist Phil Bozeman, Whitechapel opened doors for the band to truly come into their own. "Since putting out that record we felt as if we weren't held back by what people expected us to write. The best thing a band can have is diversity and show you can be talented no matter what type of music you're writing or performing, and that record did that for us." Accordingly, Our Endless War is indeed diverse, each song occupying its own space while contributing to the overall feel of the record. Opening with brief brooding instrumental "Rise", anyone concerned that the band might be lightening up will swiftly be silenced as the title track tears them a new one, for the first time introducing a visceral thrash element to their sound. "We've always had really fast parts, but that's a genre of metal we've never tapped into. Zach (Householder, guitar) is a huge thrash fan and brought that riff to us. We put a lot of effort into really bringing these lively thrash elements to the record, if we were going to do it we were going to do it right, but our way, and I think we pulled that off." Demonstrating they do every bit as much damage no matter what tempo they play at, the mechanical horror of "Let Me Burn" is one of the biggest songs the band have put their name to, while six-minute closer "Diggs Road" sees them scaling some seriously epic heights. "We wanted to make these songs as big as we possibly could, and we really focused on what's going to sound great when played live. A lot of people first hear us live, and we want songs that are not only going to sound good on the record." Famed for their three-guitar lineup, the band have always packed a crushing sonic punch, but on Our Endless War they take greater advantage of this than previously. Frequently, the seven-stringers build dramatic, incredibly heavy walls of thrilling noise through interweaving their parts, making for a sonic richness that pulls listeners even further into the songs. "On A New Era and Exile we had that kind of old school metal mindset: two guitar tracks, bass, drums, vocals - here it is, let's go. That changed on the self-titled record. We started not being afraid to really utilize the three guitars, and on the new record we didn't hold back on giving songs a lot of layers and textures to create something that is not only heavy but has a real depth to it."

As with all of Whitechapel's releases the heaviness does not just stem from the music but Bozeman's lyrics, showing characteristic diversity across the record's ten tracks. "The Saw Is The Law" shows defiance in the face of the band's detractors, while the futile loss of hope of an average man is explored in truly unsettling fashion on "Let Me Burn". He attacks the manner in which technology has overtaken contemporary life on "Worship The Digital Age", and on "Diggs Road" he unflinchingly delves into the struggles and suicidal thoughts stemming from losing his parents at an early age. As varied as they are, all of these themes are united by the title of record. "Our Endless War refers to every type of war. World war, personal war, life is war, no matter if you're happy, sad, depressed or emotionless. You have to fight every day to live no matter if it's a small or large-scale problem, whether it's an easy battle or a hard one."

When it came to tracking the album the band considered no one beyond Mark Lewis, who helmed Whitechapel. "Making the self-titled record went so well, we loved the way it came out, our label loved the way it came out, and our fans kept telling us that it was our best sounding record so it would have been stupid not to work with him again!" Wade laughs. "We're all close in age, so it's not like working with an older producer where we may be a little scared to speak up about things. With Mark we're all on the same page, making it really easy to work together, and the whole process went so smoothly." For the artwork, the band turned again to Aaron Marsh, who supplied Whitechapel with its stark, arresting imagery, but again they wanted to push things to the next level. "With the sound maturing we felt like the artwork needed to reflect that. We also introduced a new logo - our old logo is classic Whitechapel, and that's not something we plan on getting rid of, but as the band grows and changes we felt like we needed the logo to represent the maturity of this new Whitechapel."

With a lot of touring ahead of them, maintaining their hard working ethic that will see them whipping crowds into a frenzy the world over, there is arguably no metal band out there right now able to play to such diverse crowds as Whitechapel. Having previously drawn rabid crowds on both Warped Tour and Summer Slaughter, in 2013 they supported UK metalcore mob Asking Alexandria and label mates Gwar, causing a stir with both bands' audiences. "That we can play to a lot of different demographics is one of the things I'm most grateful for. We can play to the fourteen to eighteen year old Asking Alexandria crowd, and then we can play to the mid twenties to mid forties Gwar crowd. It's always been like that, and that's an amazing thing, because it strips us of the kind of limitations a lot of bands face. Whitechapel opened a lot of doors for us and we want to open a whole lot more with this new record. This is the best we've ever been, and we don't want to let anything stand in our way."
Fleshgod Apocalypse
Fleshgod Apocalypse
Symphonic/technical death metal band from Perugia, Italy. Fleshgod Apocalypse was created in April of 2007 when they released a two track demo entitled 'Promo 07', which was later released as part of the 4-way split called 'Da Vinci Death Code'.

In early 2008 the band started to perform live in the Italian and European underground scene supporting bands like Behemoth, Origin (7), Dying Fetus, Hate Eternal, Suffocation, Napalm Death and many more.

In May 2008 the band entered 16th Cellar Studio again to record its first full-length album, 'Oracles'. In December that same year the band decided to part ways with Neurotic Records and inked a deal with Willowtip Records. 'Oracles' was released in April 2009 and the band started an intense show schedule all over Europe. First touring in support of God Dethroned in the Balkans, then with Vader and Marduk on the Funeral Nation Tour, then finally they covered the UK and EIRE territories with their first headlining tour.

The 'Mafia' EP was recorded, mixed and mastered again at 16th Cellar Studio in January 2010 and released by Willowtip Records. The release marked a big step forward for the band in every way. Right after the end of the recording session the band embarked on another European tour supporting Suffocation followed by a headlining tour of Russia.

After some Festivals and gigs in the summertime, the band flew overseas for their first tour of the US/Canada dubbed the Decibel Defiance Tour 2010. The tour took place in October/November 2010 with Suffocation, Faceless, Through The Eyes Of The Dead and Decrepit Birth. Before the end of the year the band played several more gigs in Europe. 2011 opened with the Bonecrusher Fest, a European tour with Dying Fetus, Keep Of Kalessin, Carnifex, Annotations Of An Autopsy and Angelus Apatrida.

In November of 2010, the band signed a worldwide deal with Extreme Management Group, Inc. and began writing their second full length album. In May of 2011 the band signed a worldwide deal with Nuclear Blast Records and began wrapping up work on this album. During this time Francesco Ferrini, the pianist and orchestrator who has worked with the band from the beginning, joined Fleshgod Apocalypse as full-time member. This enabled them to have even more grand symphonic arrangements on 'Agony', taking the bands signature sound to new euphoric heights.

In 2011 'Agony' is released. The mix and mastering was done by Stefano “Saul” Morabito from 16th Cellar Studios. Marco Hasmann once again crafts an intricate depiction of the bands concept with his cover art.

Line-up:
Tommaso Riccardi - vocals, guitars
Paolo Rossi - bass, vocals
Cristiano Trionfera - guitars, vocals, orchestral arrangements
Francesco Paoli - drums, guitars, vocals
Francesco Ferrini - piano
Aversions Crown
Aversions Crown
AVERSIONS CROWN are a four piece outfit from Brisbane, Australia conceived in 2010.
Shadow Of Intent
Shadow Of Intent
Symphonic Deathcore band from Connecticut/Rhode Island
Venue Information:
The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall
2036 University Avenue
near Downtown Berkeley BART
Berkeley, CA, 94704
http://www.theuctheatre.org/