Whether you consider them death/grind, brutal death, or just plain old death metal, we can all agree on one thing: Aborted write some insanely brutal music. Though opinions have often been divided about the quality of the material since 2003’s Goremageddon, I for one always find myself looking forward to a new release. At the very least, Aborted have managed to appeal to a pretty wide variety of underground extreme metal fans, and that has got to count for something, right?
The latest release, Retrogore, manages to hit all the high points I love about Aborted, and fixed the mistakes made in previous releases. “Dellamorte Dellamorte” starts things off on a humorous note, with what sounds like the jingle to some sitcom from the 1950s, before giving way to the frantic title track. The guitars are fast, brutal, and technical, with a solid rhythm section providing a tough backbone and keeping things from running off the rails. “Bit By Bit” is a favorite of mine, particularly when the band slows down to a more medium pace, emphasizing the lower end of their tone. It’s just super savage.
The guitar tone is a bit thicker on Retrogore than it was on The Necrotic Manifesto, and it can truly be described as brutal. I know that “brutal” gets used a lot to describe bands, but there are so many sections on this album that had me literally saying to myself, “wow, this is SERIOUSLY fucking heavy.” Sven’s vocals are as ferocious as ever and, once again, an impressive set of guest vocalists make appearances, including David Davidson (Revocation), Julien Truchen (Benighted), Jason Keyser (Origin), and Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation). “Divine Impediment,” the track featuring Travis Ryan, really showcases everything great about this album; fast, technical death metal with intense breakdowns, and eerie melodies (not much too different from the newer Cattle Decapitation material, really).
The production is excellent, with a lot of each and every instrument in the mix. While there are a lot of overdubs, they’re mixed in extremely well, and manage to make the songs sound bloated. There are a few breakdowns here and there, though more along the lines of brutal death style breakdowns similar to Immolation or Suffocation. One of my biggest complaints about bands with breakdowns in their music is that the guitars always come off as way too choppy, but Aborted allow the notes sustain just a little bit more (profiting from the near-perfect production) giving the breakdown a more organic, natural sound. Another track to look out for is “Forged For Decrepitude” which has a really cool, old-school death/thrash type riff, and some melodic elements mixed in on the slower sections, and a very cool slam death, Devourment style breakdown towards the end.
The album title, Retrogore, is actually a pretty apt title for this record, as it feels like a return to the Aborted of old, which should please long-time fans. Although there are some “core” moments scattered here and there, make no mistake: This is 100% death metal at its most brutal. Even the album artwork, provided by Christopher Lovell, has a retro look that pays homage to the death and thrash scene of the 80s and 90s. This is an album that will certainly stay in heavy rotation in my listening sessions for quite some time.
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