Aborted is a death metal band featuring members from Belgium, The Netherlands and the United States. It was started by the only remaining founder, Sven de Caluwé, all the way back in 1995. Since then, the band has seen increasing mainstream success over the course of 8 studio albums, shifting through various subgenres from brutal to melodeath to deathcore. This is now #9: Retrogore. For years I have given this band little attention, in fact I have actually been more interested in guitar-player Mendel's solo albums, which have been featured on the site. But they definitely caught my ear with the new single, "Divine Impediment" (below) featuring the vocalist from Cattle Decapitation. So will Retrogore finally see me accept enlistment in Aborted fandom?
Oh yeah, I think so. I can't put my finger on exactly what causes this album to draw my attention more so then their previous discography, but then there it is. Needless to say, this band is heavy as f@#k. The title track kicks your legs out from under you and never lets you get back up. It's an extremely consistent barrage of ineffable drum speed, demonic growls, and groove-ridden death riffs. I especially love when the grunts, growls, and shrieks are layered to add to the otherworldly effect.
The closest comparison for those not familiar with the group would be The Black Dahlia Murder: a band that is a bit too capable in their musicianship to be called deathcore, and yet a little too polished and catchy to fit nicely in a full-fledged "death metal" label. For me, this balance is perfection. Songs are filled with more hooks than a bait shop and never allow me to release my claw to the air, "invisible orange" pose. It's permenantly frozen this way now.
And in addition to the "fun" aspects of the album, I still get to contemplate the finer technical standpoint of the musicianship. So many solos! And not just "we need another solo in this one," but perfectly-placed, well-timed, appropriate use of killer shredding. That's not all, either. The speed of the other riffs is an accomplishment in itself along with the always impressive work on the kit from Ken Bedene. Even when things slow down into more of a blackened, ominous build (again, see personal favorite "Divine Impediment), the choice of melodies and vocal intonation is always engaging.
Yep, I think Aborted have earned a new fan indeed. I have desperately tried to limit the number of new groups I add to my roster to follow. My pockets only run so deep, and my listening time is always highly limited. But once again, I can't deny myself a bit of death metal hedonism when it presents itself just oh so right. Album of the year? Probably not. Most enjoyable album from a major label? Possibly. You decide.