Latest release: Nightbringers (Metal Blade)Website: www.tbdmofficial.com
Sixteen years and eight albums in and The Black Dahlia Murder are showing no signs of slowing down. Indeed, vocalist Trevor Strnad hopes that Nightbringers marks the beginning of a new ascendancy for the Detroit quintet, judging by the workload he has had leading up to the album’s release.
“I’m really excited about this amount of press,” he says in his upbeat manner. “It’s really indicative of how big this album’s gonna be, so I’m taking it all in my stride and ploughing through it.”
Nightbringers has already broken records at Metal Blade, shifting more in pre-orders than any other release on the label to date. Strnad is very happy with the way the company has handled his band, whom they’ve had on their books since their first full-length, 2003’s Unhallowed. Since then, TBDM has re-signed to the label twice.
“They’ve always been so smart and so gung-ho for this band. They’ve always done so much to push us,” the singer says, “since day one.”
“I’m hoping that we can sell enough to really make some waves in the music world,” Strnad continues breezily, “to be recognised for one second and hopefully get on some bigger tours that we wouldn’t be able to do before this record. Maybe a Slayer tour, or Lamb of God or something like that, that would be very beneficial for us. We still have our eyes to the sky. We still want more from this thing.”
Those in the know, of course, will recognise the impact The Black Dahlia Murder has had on death metal since Unhallowed appeared, most noticeably in regard to Strnad’s contrasting vocals style. Yet they still remain an insider secret to many. The attention Nightbringers has been receiving makes the band hopeful that they may finally break out.
“At this moment it feels like we’re making an astronomical jump compared to the last record. There’s so many eyes on us right now. I’ve been doing so much press. It’s exciting to have this much excitement so far into [our career], from so many people. I feel that this is our definitive album that’s coming out. I’m very proud and I’m just trying to enjoy the ride just now.”
The band’s main songwriting team of Strnad and fellow founding member Brian Eschbach was recently augmented by the addition of Brandon Ellis, a guitarist the vocalist describes as a “prodigy”.
“He’s so well-versed in everything and so talented and dedicated… he’s just really impressive, man. I can’t do anything as well as he can play guitar. Not masturbate, not pick my butt – nothing!”
Ellis, who also pulls the strings with Arsis and Cannabis Corpse, came already armed with a bunch of songs for his new band, as well as plenty of studio expertise.
“Bringing Brandon into the fold as our new lead player lit a lot of fire under our asses,” Strnad declares. “He’s super, super incredible and he wrote four songs for the album, which is really cool too. Just the excitement he’s brought to the band has lifted us all up, I believe. He just jumped up and grabbed the reins and the songs he offered up are incredible. His solos are out of this world and he also had his hand in the mix quite a bit. He knows the frequencies, he knows engineering. He’s really wise beyond his years. He’s only 25 and he’s just stepped into the band as this complete monster and we’re really thankful to have him. This is his record. There’s a lot of him on this album.”
Just as importantly, Trevor Strnad is quick to point out how important their fans have been, not only in their support so far, but in the drive to make Nightbringers The Black Dahlia Murder’s biggest album yet. As a huge fan of metal himself, he knows how dedicated a metal fanbase can be, and he isn’t about to take it for granted.
“This is just the right sound, the right time, the right album cover, the right fans,” he says. “The fans are really rallying behind us; they’re trying to make this album make waves for us. I appreciate the hell out of that. They’re buying physical copies and it’s not even cool to do that anymore, but people are doing it. It means the world to me that people are showing up for us right now like that. They want big things for us too.”