Prepare yourself for a wild devilish ride, my friends. The Black Dahlia Murder has laid out an offering to the metal gods that they will surely smile upon -- a raucous 12-track bloodbath that features classical instrumentation on top of the typical BDM blindingly fast deathcore style. Ritual will make your head hurt in the best way possible. This is thinking man's metal.
There's no better way to describe this album beyond "unpredictable." The band seemed to have found a formula in their last couple of albums that worked well, but as the incredible musicians they are, they also recognized the formula would only take them so far. Elements that stayed the same: dual growl-scream vocals, shredding guitars, blast-beat drums and lyrical themes.
And now, the new elements: darker song structures, smarter guitar solos, more poetic lyrics, (the aforementioned) classical elements, more thought-out and complex hooks, more variety and, as a result of the latter, more unpredictability. Overall, this is an album that speaks volumes about the direction of the band and the direction of metal music as we currently know it. It's a dark, heavy and fast masterpiece chugging along like a bullet train out of hell. Faithful to its title, Ritual sounds like a beastly, devilish ceremony wrapped in a satanic pentagram eating itself while it burns alive. BUY THIS ALBUM.