Michigan’s The Black Dahlia Murder is currently out on tour with the legendary Black Label Society, and filling gaps with headlining shows around the Southeast before heading to Europe next month. For a band that’s been going nonstop since the early 2000s, that’s just business as usual.
Intense touring has paid off in spades for the band, whose unique style of melodic death metal has won them a large and loyal fanbase across the world since their first album was released in 2003. Their last album, Nightbringers, came out in 2017 and they’ve got another in the can awaiting release. They’re a band that never stops, and they’re all the better for it.
They play Victory North Fri., Oct. 11, with local metal faves Depressor opening. We caught up with bassist Max Lavelle.
Stylistically, how did you first figure out what kind of band this would be? The sound feels uniquely yours. What were some early influences?
Stylistically, we just made music we liked. Being that young is completely premeditated, but you can absolutely hear influences from Carcass, At the Gates and Dimension Zero on the melodic side. We also threw in American brutal death metal influences like Morbid Angel,Cannibal Corpse, etc.
You’ve made a lot of records since 2003. Do you feel you’ve evolved as a band in that time? In what ways?
I believe that every record we do is an evolution—we started very young, so we’ve also grown with our music. Now, I feel like we’ve really upped the songwriting and added more dimension. The way everyone communicates now is very clear, so when we are writing we get the full ideas across.
The metal world is large but the audiences/fans are fiercely loyal about the bands they like, so it feels like a very tight knit community. Was there a moment early on that you remember realizing that people had started paying attention to what you were doing? In other words, do you remember when things started taking off?
For me personally, the moment I noticed the largest spike in growth was when Nightbringers was released. At the time, our fan club had just started being active. The amount of positive feedback and community in the fan club was incredible. Here we are and our eighth album is breaking Metal Blade preorder records. Even at the end of this tour cycle we're on now, we are still selling a ton of copies.
What interests you lyrically (in terms of subject matter) after writing songs for so many years?
As bass player I guess my tastes will be a bit different. For me, I'm a huge fan of sci-fi or time travel related work.
Tell me about touring with Black Label Society. How has that experience been so far?
Let's fire it up, man. But seriously, BLS are super cool dudes. The band and crew have been super nice to us, and they try to give us extra time to set up when we need it.
We are pummeling some of their fans, that’s pretty clear. We may be a bit too extreme for some of these folks here, but a lot of people are having fun seeing these young, fast jerks up there headbanging their faces off.
In 2017 you played ‘Nocturnal’ in its entirety to mark the 10th anniversary. What’s it like looking back on something like that and having to dissect an early record after years of growth?
Hey man, I like a good challenge. Give me something to do, and I’ll do it. To be totally honest, it’s a killer record. I enjoyed revisiting the material and playing some of my favorite songs.
What’s next for y’all? Are you always sort of looking towards/working towards the next record even when you’re on the road?
After this BLS run we have a full European tour coming up with Insomnium, and we’re all very excited for that whole thing. The new record is finished, and it’ll be coming out of the oven next year. This one is going to rip everyone faces off, in the best way possible.