The Black Dahlia Murder Have the #4 Album in the U.S. by Pure Sales
Congratulations are in order to The Black Dahlia Murder, who landed at #4 on Billboard Top Album Sales chart with Verminous in its first week of release. The Top Album Sales chart, as opposed to the more commonly references Billboard 200, tracks pure album sales and does not include data from streaming services.
To say that it’s a momentous occasion for a death metal band to chart so high is an understatement. The Black Dahlia Murder were bested only by Fiona Apple (well, duh!), rapper DaBaby and comic/rapper Upchurch. On the overall Billboard 200 chart, which includes track-equivalent streaming data from Spotify, YouTube and the like, Verminous landed at #99. Verminous was also the fourth best-selling vinyl album, behind only Billie Eilish, Mac Miller and Britney Spears.
Unsurprisingly, Verminous shifted fewer units than its predecessor, Nightbringers, by a significant margin due to the complete lack of brick-and-mortar retail stores to sell it during the coronavirus pandemic (and also likely because of less disposable income in the general population even for online purchases). Verminous shifted 7,800 units in its first week compared to Nightbringers‘ 12,000, while Abysmal, released in 2015, moved approximately 10,000. Going back further, Ritual (2011) and Everblack (2013) each moved roughly 13,000 units in their first week of release.
Still, that such a brutal band were able to move 7,800 albums — no small amount for any metal band! — and that the performance was good enough for a #4 ranking on the Top Album Sales chart proves how far The Black Dahlia Murder have come over the years and how sales of physical product remains a viable source of income for metal bands. It also calls into question MetalSucks co-head-honcho Axl’s theory that lower sales figures might result in bands and labels pushing back album releases en masse in the coronavirus era; since the playing field is the same for all acts, perhaps a higher chart position with less competition is worth the tradeoff.
On the other hand, maybe Axl is right: the #99 overall Billboard 200 ranking for Verminous is lower than the band’s recent releases. By comparison, Nightbringers charted at #35 and Abysmal landed at #45.