Concert Review + Photo Album: The Black Dahlia Murder @ Delmar Hall

Upon thinking of metal bands that seem to have been touring non-stop since the turn of the century, The Black Dahlia Murder(BDM) have to be one of the first to come to mind. From opening for death metal veterans Vital Remains in 2004 and heavy metal powerhouse King Diamond in 2005 to headlining the Summer Slaughter Tour three different times (’08, ’11 and ’17), the quintet from Michigan has traveled countless miles while accruing a loyal mass of metal followers over the past 15 years. To further prove a point, despite not seeing BDM since their headlining tour in 2013 with Skeletonwitch and Fallujah, I had seen them 7 times prior to the show at Delmar Hall (assuming I’m not forgetting one or two occasions) because they always tour with the best bands in metal!!!

The current trek, known as the Nightbringers Tour, is a celebration of their 8th studio album, “Nightbringers, released worldwide on October 6th, 2017.  Joining them for the excursion are Suffocation, Necrot and Wormwitch; additionally, Exhumed and The Zenith Passage will be joining the bill for the final week of the tour as they melt faces across the southwestern United States. The Zenith Passage will take the spot of Decrepit Birth, who were forced to drop off of the tour due to an important member being unable to perform due to an unspecified illness. Unfortunately, Saint Louis was one of their cancellations before they officially announced they were heading home and I was looking forward to seeing them playing track off of their new album, “Axis Mundi. In any case, it was a solid metal lineup and it was great to see Delmar Hall packed on a cold, rainy Sunday evening in October, a certain indication of the slow transition into the autumn season.

Fittingly, the first band of the night was a  black metal trio known as Wormwitch, from Vancouver, British Columbia. They sounded like a mixed cocktail of Venom and Motorhead, with a splash of High On Fire, and the music was on-point. Their performance was fun and energetic, which is especially surprising considering the vocalist was “as sick as a dog”. They were a very pleasant surprise on the bill and a great way to start off a Sunday night concert of the extreme metal persuasion.

Next up was death metal trio Necrot from Oakland, California. The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy their performance and by the end of their set the entire front row was headbanging along as the band expressed their approval and appreciation. They had catchy riffs and a sharp snare tone that made me do some air-drumming with my hands, mimicking the sounds that I was hearing. They were another pleasant surprise that I wasn’t familiar with but hope to see again soon.

Necrot

The Blade

Rather Be Dead

Shadows and Light

Empty Hands

Into the Labyrinth

Breathing Machine

Scattered

The Abyss

For those of you who’ve never seen technical death metal pioneers Suffocation live before, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice because they are one of the most brutally talented – and iconic – bands in modern death metal, and probably even in the metal genre overall. I’d say the technical precision of their ludicrous-speed guitar riffs and machine gun drum patterns are worth the price of admission alone. This was the first time I had seen Suffocation without vocalist Frank Mullen (who now only does studio vocals) and his signature “hand chops” during intense blast-beats, so I was interested in how the current touring vocalist would handle the weight. To my delight, he was a beast and definitely held his own on stage. He looked as equally delighted to be there, and thanked the Saint Louis crowd for showing up on a shitty Sunday night to support extreme metal.

Suffocation

Thrones of Blood

Effigy of the Forgotten

Return to the Abyss

Funeral Inception

Pierced From Within

Clarity Through Deprivation

Liege of Inveracity

Catatonia

Infecting the Crypts

The expansive set-list that The Black Dahlia Murder is performing on this tour is beautifully intense and features at least one song from each of their eight full-length albums. Despite not being familiar with their last three or four albums, I was excited to hear something different from them live. Considering that the majority of their sets I’ve seen featured more of their early work, the opportunity to hear songs that I hadn’t heard them perform live was intriguing enough for me to go to the show and see them headline once again. As fans and critics will tell you, Trevor and his wrecking crew of a band never lack energy nor expression when pummeling you with their music. Despite touring like crazy for over a decade, the iconic front-man with “heartburn” tattooed across his belly always appears to be having a fucking blast.

If you are towards the front of the crowd and Trevor sees you up there, not meeting his expectations as far as excitement or movement, chances are he’s going to call you out; that’s just how it goes! After all, it is all in good fun… The crowd consisted of newbies and veterans alike, and it was cool to see how many people knew the words to their songs, from the newest tracks on “Nightbringers to their old classicss off of “Unhallowed. It was a fantastic Black Dahlia Murder setlist for those like myself whom have not seen them in several years and were looking to get caught up on what they may have missed.

TBDM

Widowmaker

Statutory Ape

Contagion

I Worship Only What You Bleed

Nightbringers

Miasma

In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me

Abysmal

A Shrine to Madness

Matriarch

Malenchantments of the Necrosphere

Vlad, Son of the Dragon

Everything Went Black

Kings of the Nightworld

What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse

On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood

Unhallowed

Funeral Thirst

I Will Return

Previous The Black Dahlia Murder shows I’ve seen:

  • February 12, 2007 @ Pop’s in Sauget, IL
    • Headlining; Support from 3 Inches of Blood, Hate Eternal & Decrepit Birth
  • May 7, 2008 @ BlueNote Club in Columbia, MO
    • Headlining; Support from Arsis & A Life Once Lost
  • July 27, 2008 @ Pop’s in Sauget, IL
    • Headlining the Summer Slaughter Tour
  • July 22, 2009 @ Riverport Ampitheatre in Maryland Heights, MO
    • Second Stage on the “Rockstar Mayhem Festival” Tour
  • March 13, 2010 @ The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS
    • Headlining; Support from Obscura, Augury & Hatesphere
  • October 12, 2010 @ Pop’s in Sauget, IL
    • Headlining; Support from Goatwhore & Arkaik
  • November 22, 2013 @ The Firebird in St. Louis, MO
    • Headlining; Support from Skeletonwitch & Fallujah

Previous Suffocation shows I’ve seen:

  • November 27, 2004 @ Pop’s in Sauget, IL
    • Supporting Fear Factory alongside Hypocrisy & Decapitated
  • October 25, 2010 @ The Rave/Eagles Club in Milwaukee, WI
    • Headlining; Support from The Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth and Fleshgod Apocalypse

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