The Black Dahlia Murder, with Cephalic Carnage, Between the Buried & Me and Into the Moat

A few years ago, the Black Dahlia Murder opened for rap-rock travesty Saliva at a Texas pavilion. "Not a lot of converts that day," recalls guitarist Brian Eschbach. The quartet, known for its melodic death metal, now keeps better company, having spent the summer on Ozzfest before kicking off its current headlining tour with fellow grinders Between the Buried & Me, Cephalic Carnage and Into the Moat.

Despite finding compatible concertmates, the Black Dahlia Murder still faces skeptics, some of whom brand the group "emo girls" on message boards, a description that's more appropriate for its front-row fan base. The Black Dahlia Murder earned this female following without compromising its malevolent lyrics or gargling-goblin vocals. Also, this isn't one of those thrift-store-savvy acts known for its style. The grizzly group isn't pictured in the album art for its latest record, Miasma, and while its members like to strip (singer Trevor Srnad invariably sheds his shirt, while Eschbach received a citation for an Ozzfest full monty), the spectacle doesn't exactly provoke passion.

Occasionally, the Black Dahlia Murder haters log off long enough to jeer the band in person. "This guy in Switzerland thought he could say whatever the hell he wanted, with no repercussions," Eschbach says. "I grabbed him when we were done playing and told him if he didn't like what we had going on, then he didn't need to be near the stage."

Hecklers included, the Black Dahlia Murder now draws decent crowds worldwide, with the rock-star behavior to match. "I went to Japan and got so drunk that I broke a lot of things," admits Eschbach. (It's the "Japan" that makes that anecdote exotic.) However, much as the has-beens in Saliva no longer get to trash arena dressing rooms, the Black Dahlia Murder also could find financial constraints hindering its destructive impulses.

"Metal seems really cool right now, but at some point it's going to be harder to pay the bills," Eschbach says.

Perhaps, but if things get tight, male exotic-dance establishments offer flexible hours.

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Andrew Miller