The first rule of being a member of The Black Dahlia Murder is to not take yourself too seriously. Though the band's devastating brand of death metal is as savage as can be and their lyrics cover the usual subjects like ritualistic suicide and the self-explanatory Raped In Hatred By Vines And Thorns, that's pretty much where the line stops for doing things the traditional way. Their photo shoots are always a lolocaust of ludicrousness, Trevor's onstage demeanour has as much in common with a little girl who's just crafted her first daisy chain as it does Chris Barnes and perhaps the finest example of this unique approach comes on the band's 2007 DVD, Majesty. It will come as no surprise to learn that upcoming follow-up, Fool 'Em All, is more of the same.
“We are not serious people by any means,” laughs Trevor Strnad. “We are very serious about the music we make, I love death metal and take that very seriously but outside of that, what’s the point in taking things seriously at all?”
The 70 minute documentary disc was mostly shot on their eye-opening stint on last summer’s traditionally trendier Warped Tour. If ever there was a place for the band to showcase their outsider stance, that would be it.
“It was a weird place for us as a band and representatives of where we come from to find ourselves,” Trevor says. “There’s some horrible shit on that band and we felt like our own island for most of the summer but we got to play for a thousand kids a day who may not of heard us or even heard of death metal and that felt cool. We knew we wouldn’t be playing for our crowd and it was as much of a culture shock for us as it was our fans.”
Highlights include the band in a state of dismay for how chirpy everyone on the tour is, getting a leg of the tour to all fart on the count of three and, perhaps the DVD’s stand out moment, guitarist Brian Eschbach.
“Sometimes things go too far!”, laughs Trevor. “Our tour manager and Brian are hilarious together and they like to prank each other and wrestle each other and one night, as you’ve seen, things get a little out of hand.“
If there was a stand out example in the band’s career of how they don’t do things the traditional way, it’d be the 3D footage from Fool ‘Em All. Featuring dildos and yo-yos flying out of the screen, it’s not the kind of tomfoolery you can imagine the classic Death line-up partaking in.
“It’s not gonna be as good as Godzilla but it’s probably better than Avatar,” Trevor jokes.
Perhaps the most meaningful point to the DVD is letting fans connect with drummer Cory Grady and bassist Alan Cassidy who have joined the band since Majesty.
“People still watch the first DVD and people haven’t got that chance to really get to know them on that level,” Trevor explains. “This is a chance for them to get to know the band they see if they come and see us now and not still be familiarising with guys who haven’t been in the band for years.”
The cover art and name of the DVD may have been inspired by the classic Metallica collection Cliff ‘Em All (“we’ve actually always said we’ve fooled everyone by making a living out of the band”, reasons Trevor) but it’s Pantera’s classic home video collection that provides the biggest influence for TBDM.
“Those are still the best metal videos ever made,” states Trevor. “They are the ultimate ‘crack a beer open and laugh your ass off’ videos. If people enjoy ours half as much as those, we’ve done okay.”
The Black Dahlia Murder’s new DVD/Blu-Ray Fool ‘Em All is released 27 May.