Big Dark Love

Murder By Death

Bloodshot Records, 2015

http://www.murderbydeath.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/19/2015

With a name like Murder By Death and featuring post-hardcore contributors from bands like Thursday and My Chemical Romance on their albums, it's a little surprising how, well, tame this Indiana five piece is. Of course, they also made a name for themselves touring with the likes of Lucero and William Elliott Whitmore, which is more along the lines of Murder By Death's varied sound. nbtc__dv_250

On their seventh album, Big Dark Love, Murder By Death are indeed big and dark while discussing many aspects of love. And if the album title doesn't give it way, the mysterious, cryptic cover art also foreshadows what's to come in the next half hour of listening.

Though the subject matter revolves around the same realm, musically Murder By Death is all over the spectrum, offering a revolving door of influences across a wide range of genres. While songs like “Send Me Home” has gospel leanings, the dark Western variation of “Hunted” the horn-filled Southern rock on “Solitary One” are in line with the ominous feelings prevalent throughout the entire album. Brighter moments include the banjo driven and barnyard romping of “The Last Thing” and unique use of pedal steel on “Natural Pearl.”

Frontman Adam Turla pulls off an incredible performance here. His deep baritone suits the dark themes well, and his delivery of stories about lovers getting rid of bodies (“Dream In Red”) or a lover begging to be mercy killed (“Send Me Home”) is spot on. Often resembling a younger Richard Buckner, when the volumes get loud ("Strange Eyes") or quiet ("Dream In Red"), Turla adapts seamlessly and flawlessly.

If you're a longtime fan, Big Dark Love will be welcomed with open arms. The band's tense and original take on Americana is as good as it's ever been, and sometimes better.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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