Michigan natives The Black Dahlia Murder are no strangers to a few things, namely: being heavy as fuck, having a loyal fan base, and headlining the Summer Slaughter Tour. The Black Dahlia Murder have been crushing stages all Summer long in support of their newest, and as the band believes, their best album Ritual, a black metal-fused romp for the ages. Recently I had a chance to sit down with vocalist Trevor and talk about the tour, new album and Patrick Swayze.

So how’s the tour going so far?
Trevor: Good man, the tour is about half over, maybe a little bit past half and it’s been really huge. I think it’s just the right combo of bands and sounds right now, a lot of different kind of styles converging on this thing and this tour is a lot bigger then the previous Summer Slaughter we headlined a few years back and that’s what we wanted. The tour is perfectly synced with the new record as well, everything is just great right now.

What have been some highlights on this tour?
Trevor: There have been a lot of killer show, let me see… hmm. The first show in L.A was amazing and so was Milwaukee. Milwaukee can be hit or miss, but it was defiantly a hit this time.

Now your newest album Ritual, just released close to 2 months ago and within the first week it debuted at number 31. Does that make you feel proud or is it just a number?
Trevor: It’s pretty cool you know, it’s not necessarily the goal of the band to hit the charts or anything. The overall goal is just to exist, but I think it’s a pretty cool statement for the extreme metal scene as a whole, you know? We made a ripple on the charts and you know we don’t play “nice” music so it just goes to show you. Also, with record sales declining it kind of evens out the playing field. So now when people buy metal records, enough are being sold that it shows up on the radar. A better way to say this is it’s kind of like being graded on a curve.

Ritual was produced by Mark Lewis and Jason Suecof who also did your 2009 release Deflorate, if I am not mistaken, why did you choose to work with them again over anyone else?
Trevor: Mark and Jason are just awesome. First off we have a really great friendship with those guys, like they are really out there like us and we do a lot of joking around. We were also looking for a studio that was good at capturing that Swedish guitar sound we are trying to go for and it was kind of hard to find that studio in the States seeing that all of our favourite records were done outside of the States. The trend today seems to be over production and over triggering everything and we just wanted to have someone who would understand the ins and outs of death metal music. It’s been a really good marriage with those guys and I personally feel Rituals is our best sounding record out of the 3 we have done with them.

Now I’ve read in previous interviews that this album has been the bands most focused. What’s made it the most focused?
Trevor: I think it was a lot of things, stepping outside before we started writing and thinking “what is it that people like about this band” and we thought that this record should be more melodic then our previous records, maybe some of the overly technical stuff we have done in the past might have gone over peoples heads. We still have technical parts to our songs but they are just done in a bit of a different way. The lyrical theme behind this record as well I feel added to the focus, I tried to make it as dark, evil and blood soaked record I could but also embodying all the things we feel make us a band. To sum it up, to make the most Black Dahlia Murder album we could.

With that being said we wanted to be all the things kids love about us, but we wanted to put our own little twists and turns with the subtleness of all the extra instruments we added, make everything play through like a story rather then just songs on an album. We also had more time to take everything into consideration; generally we take 2 years to tour each record we put out, but we did the 2 years so compacted after Deflorate that we had a bit of extra time to write this record. Being at home for extra time helped just as much as anything as well, we got to catch our breath and not be burnt out before the record.

Lastly, I feel with the introduction of Ryan it really helped this album become what is is as well. He came in half way through on Deflorate and since then he has been with us a long time and really come into his own and found his spot in the band as a leadsman. His ideas of trying to make the songs more 3 dimensional really helped out and that meaning simple things like key changes and little things that maybe your average listener wouldn’t catch off the hop. He also wrote 6 of the 12 songs on this new record so it’s just awesome to take that gamble on a new member.

Check out the song “Goat of Departure” here.

Who would win in a fight, a T-Rex or 25 lions and why?
Trevor: Hmm wow, how big is a real T-Rex?! Man, I don’t know this is fucking hard. I think the lions would take it, either way it paints quite the image in my head.

Name some things we would find on your iPod that would surprise your fans.
Trevor: Harry Connick Jr. is probably the first thing that comes to mind, The Bee Gees, a lot of cheesy 80’s crap. I love corny, cheesy shit and I have a ton on my iPod. A bunch of indie stuff too, some Elton John. Elton John is pretty metal. Yellow Brick Road is metal. The Bodyguard soundtrack! That’s just from it being drilled in my head from my mom when I was younger, she played the SHIT out of that record and the movie is surprisingly okay.

What about the Dirty Dancing soundtrack?
Trevor: No but I do back “Hungry Eyes” and I mean Patrick Swayze sang it too and that’s the shit and I believe “She’s Like The Wind” was his song too right? “Hungry Eyes” though, it’s a good fucking jam. I think “Hungry Eyes” with some eyes would be a really sick chest piece, like a mouth with eyes inside of it.

What does The Black Dahlia Murder have planned after tour?
Trevor: More touring man. We have something coming up in the States, but I can’t say what until Summer Slaughter is over and then we have some stuff in the winter in Europe and beyond that we have another U.S tour after that. It’s real crucial to get out there right now since we just released our newest record and hopefully it all pays off.