Continuing to further improve their signature sound, Detroit's The Black Dahlia Murder have released another punishing 40 minutes of death metal with Abysmal. I previously elaborated on the band's consistent release of a record every other year while reviewing Everblack back in 2013, and that remains in tact here. The sound is tighter and more focused, and that is due in part to the entire lineup remaining intact from the Everblack album. Drummer Alan Cassidy continues to deliver stellar performances behind the kit, alternating between rapid blast beats and solid backbeat grooves. The guitar duo of Ryan Knight and Brian Eschbach sounds as menacing as ever, Knight's solos improve more every album. And as always, frontman Trevor Strnad blasts to the forefront of the mix with his higher register screams and guttural growls, as well as his lyrics which remain faithful to the death metal genre.

Opener "Receipt" begins with a spooky string section, before Cassidy's rapid tom filled explosion brings in the full band. Rapid blast beats dominate the pre-chorus before launching into a groove heavy chug riff that is riddled with double kick. They never reinvent the wheel, but there is definitely a more epic, dynamic feel that began to creep into the band's sound on Everblack. "Vlad, Son Of The Dragon" features some eerie choir elements in the opening minute of the track, while "Stygiophobic" begins with an ominous soundscape and overall slower tempo. Album closer "That Can't Die Which Eternally Is Dead" is a career encompassing track with many twists and turns. This track in my opinion, perfectly displays everything that The Black Dahlia Murder is capable of.

Then there is the tried and true face rippers, such as the title track "Abysmal" and "Asylum", which are relentless from front to back, packed full of blast beats and acrobatic solos. Much like the rest of the band's catalog, if you enjoyed TBDM before, you will love this new record. I wonder what we can expect in 2017? You can stream the record in its entirety now, and preorders are still available via Metal Blade Records.

Abysmal is out this Friday, September 18th.