Seeing The Black Dahlia Murder at Detroit’s Saint Andrew’s Hall is the heavy metal equivalent of watching the Pope perform mass at the Vatican, with the welcome addition of a dense cloud of weed smoke and a packed house of crowd surfing lunatics. This comparison may draw accusations of blasphemy from our more devout Catholic friends, but I would urge such individuals to lighten the hell up.

I could write a longwinded review of the show, dissecting the set in in intricate detail, and recounting every word Trevor uttered to the crowd between songs. I write reviews like that all the time. But there’s really no point. They played Nightbringers in entirety, as well as a few other tunes. And it was fucking awesome.

I’m not intentionally slighting deathcore pioneers Whitechapel, who are co-headlining this tour. They were in fine form, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their album This Is Exile. The crowd went insane for them. No exaggeration. I’ve photographed a lot of metal shows, but never have I seen so many fans come over the wall into the photo pit over the course of the three songs I was shooting. I was dodging them left and right. Their set was like a giant boulder rolling down the side of mountain, destroying the tiny alpine village in its path. It was that heavy.

The three other bands opening the night were Shadow Of Intent, Aversions Crown and Fleshgod Apocalypse. While all three bands delivered solid sets, it was Fleshgod who stood out from the pack. With their 19th century garb, corpse paint, fantastically intricate melodies and a bona fide opera singer onstage, they were a fish out of water in the very best way. A delicacy to behold.

All in all, it was a hell of a night. Black Dahlia never disappoints, and their local hero status propelled the energy of the evening into stratospheric territory.

Todd Gilleland
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