A Shrine To Madness: The Black Dahlia Murder Live in Lawrence, KS 11/29/15

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When the American heavy metal scene experienced a sort of renaissance in the early 2000′s, combining metalcore and groove metal, not too many quality groups managed to make names for themselves. However, one band decided to buck the trend of their peers and focus on melodic death metal popularized by groups like At The Gates, Carcass and Dismember and they far and away became the best US-born band from that era to survive to today. That band is The Black Dahlia Murder and they are still one of the fiercest live forces to be reckoned with going on 15 years as a group.

The quintet took the stage and wasted no time, launching into a 16 song set that touched on all eras of their career. Surprisingly, although tracks were performed off their recently released new album “Abysmal,” the album with the most representation at the Granada was their 2005 breakthrough record “Miasma,” which showcased a definite harsher and more chaotic period of the band. The performances of “Statutory Ape” and “I’m Charming” were great showpieces for the guitarists to show off their riffing and solo skills, whereas vocalist Trevor Strnad has some of the consistently best extreme vocals around today. The entire group sounded perfect Sunday night and didn’t miss the beat at all.

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Throughout Black Dahlia’s whole performance, the crowd had grown to its densest of the night and included non-stop mosh pits, stage divers and lyric-screaming. Their insane stage presence was only accentuated by the sound mixing which was some of the best I’ve experienced at the Granada in quite some time. That added heaviness to each riff and guttural vocal screech made everything much more memorable. The Black Dahlia Murder are at the top of their game right now – they’ve been at the top of their game for almost fifteen years – and they show no signs of letting up any time soon.

Opening duties fell to a foursome of fearsome bands from all different walks of metal life. Opening the show was Artificial Brain, a deathgrind band from Long Island, New York (forever ingrained into my brain by how many times the vocalist said it between songs) that added elements of atmospherics and goregrind for an impressive sounding set. Death/grindcore can be easy to phone in, but Artificial Brain pulled no punches and gave it their all. Truly heavy. Afterwards was quartet Entheos, a four-piece playing modern technical death metal/progressive metalcore that the kids might call “djent.” Out of place considering the tour they’re on, but still put on an entertaining show nonetheless, thanks mostly in part to their frontwoman Chaney Crabb, constantly bounding around the stage and headbanging with the fans up close.

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Perhaps with the biggest reception of the opening bands, Iron Reagan brought speed, speed and more speed to an already speedy show and had the biggest old-fashioned circle pits of the night. Comprised of members from bands like Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse and Mammoth Grinder, Iron Reagan has no problem busting out old-school crossover tunes like the instantly catchy “Miserable Failure,” or 5 quick songs in 5 quick minutes, teetering almost on grindcore. IxRx is easily one of the best metal bands making music and touring right now.

Direct support fell to the now-legendary New Orleans blackened death metallers Goatwhore. In their 18th year as a band, Goatwhore has this whole metal thing down to a fine art. Vocalist Ben Falgoust hits guttural lows and shrieking highs mutliple times per song like it was nothing, and guitarist Sammy Duet has no problem riffing no matter how fast or how slow each Goatwhore song needs. Although current songs “Baring Teeth For Revolt” and “Apocalyptic Havoc” always are guaranteed headbangers, there’s something about their performance of 2006′s “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult” that encompasses every thing good and evil about Goatwhore into one nice disgusting package.

The Black Dahlia Murder:

1. Receipt
2. What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse
3. On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood
4. Threat Level No. 3
5. Vlad, son of the Dragon
6. Moonlight Equilibrium
7. Elder Misanthropy
8. Abysmal
9. Unhallowed/Funeral Thirst
10. Everything Went Black
11. I’m Charming
12. Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn
13. Miasma
14. Statutory Ape
15. Deathmask Divine
16. I Will Return

Goatwhore (partial/out of order)

- Poisonous Existence In Reawakening
- Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult
- An End To Nothing
- Cold Earth Consumed In Dying Flesh
- Externalize The Hidden Savagery
- Apocalyptic Havoc
- When Steel And Bone Meet
- Baring Teeth For Revolt

Iron Reagan (partial/out of order)

- Tyranny Of Will (first half)
- I Won’t Go
- Insanity Plea(se)?
- Close To Toast
- Cycle Of Violence
- Obsolete Man
- Tongue Tied
- The Living Skull
- Bet On Black
- Spoiled Identity
- Zero Gain
- Miserable Failure
- Your Kid’s An Asshole
- I Ripped That Testament A New Asshole
- Eyeball Gore

Entheos (partial/out of order)

- Form and Void
- Primal

Artificial Brain (partial/out of order)

- 3 or 4 new songs
- Brain Transplant
- Absorbing Black Ignition
- Wired Opposites
- Worm Harvester

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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