Aborted
Maniacult

I honestly don’t know how they keep doing it. Seriously, Belgium’s Aborted has been on a consistent roll for damn near a solid decade now. The band, having just released their eleventh full-length album entitled Maniacult, are once again steamrolling over the scene and their peers with a fantastic display of seething viciousness that nary lets off the gas the entirety of its forty minute run time. Maybe vocalist and sole original member, Sven de Caluwé, made a deal with the (Red) Devil(s), or perhaps the man actually stumbled across the end of a rainbow, or hell, maybe he found one of those genuine magic lamps. You know, the ones with the wish granting djinn living inside of it. Or maybe there’s something in the water, or beer, chocolates, and waffles of Belgium that we outsiders aren’t aware of. Whatever the case, Aborted have another winner on their hands when it comes to Maniacult.

Opening with “Verderf”, the band slowly build into a climatic burst of heavy chords, pummeling double bass, and vocals, both high and low, that bring an almost ritualistic feel to them in all their blatant mercilessness. The song transitions over to the album’s title track with a full frontal fury of aggressive blasting death metal that Aborted are known for, shifting into more of a deathcore assemblance around a minute and a half in and showcasing a tasty lead before falling into a groove-tastic display of tech-death fortitude.  Huge, catchy, and heavy as fuck riffing and tech-death aplomb close out the song in maniacal fashion. One couldn’t ask for a more perfect and brutalizing way to start things off with.

Just in case the opening one-two punches of “Verderf” and “Maniacult” didn’t soften you up from their aural bashings, the band come roaring in like a lion devouring all in its path  with “Impetus Odi”. Wasting no time, the track is blast filled and full of fat riffage at high velocities. Sven is a vocal titan, showcasing a frenzied attack of varied stylings, sounding and reminding me of that other death metal vocal tyrant, Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation). In fact more than a few times throughout “Impetus Odi”, as well as Maniacult itself, the band brings to mind Cattle Decapitation with their ability to merge insanity and complexity with memorability.  A beastial performance full of tempo changes that provide more than enough opportunities to thrash and windmill all about, if “Impetus Odi” doesn’t get your blood pumping and your heart racing then you’re more than likely dead…

To say that the rest of the album runs a similar gamut is unfair, though not necessarily  untrue. While Aborted‘s formula, not only for this album but for the last ten years, has well been fully established, there are still plenty of tricks and treats to be found within the group’s offerings. Take “Portal to Vacuity” for example, the track’s blackish hardcore styled beginnings give way to full on apocalyptic death groove-tality before taking on a bit of an industrialized flair before falling back into a deathcore crush of groove and technical prowess. Not to mention the hardcore/deathcore meets Carcass flavor of “Dementophobia”, or the slower, almost Bolt Thrower like dirge that begins “Drag Me to Hell” before the track takes off into dynamic territories of varied tempo and even melodious licks, and lets not forget the impressive display that is “Ceremonial Ineptitude”. The song, containing an almost (Trey)Azagthoth-ian vibe to the massive sounding choppy riffing of death that starts things off, twists and turns in a furious demonstration of blasts, tremolo runs, crushing riffs, guttural lows, shreiking highs, 808 bass drops, tasty licks and leads, and even some well placed hardcore laced gang shouts. In short, the band offers up a little bit of everything for the metal listener all in just under four minutes.

To say that all the members of Aborted are on top of their game seems to be insufficient to say the least. Each player here turns in quite an impressive performance, the ludicrous speed and technicality of the drums are a huge driving factor to the bands’ sound, as are the guitars, being able to not only provide gargantuanly heavy riffs, but have more than enough melodic flairs and attributes to keep things fresh and alive. Hell, even the bass is popping and rumbling behind everything so vitally that it would be well noticed if it wasn’t there. And what can be said of Sven’s vocals? The man is simply a powerhouse. His ability to hit about every extreme vocal style is dazzling and does more than its fair share of adding another layer to the band’s sound.

Obviously I’m a fan of Aborted, but I didn’t realize how much of one until I decided to pen this review. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked the band, enough so that I have all of their full-length releases, but if truth be told, I didn’t quite share the same praise for Goremageddon… that most fans and critics lavished upon it at the time of its release. Not to say that I didn’t like it, becaue I did, I even enjoyed the next two follow up albums, but Strychnine.213 left me a little cold. Enough so that Global Flatline had been out for at least a solid year before I decided to actually check it out, yet when I did I was somewhat surprised at how much of a bounce back the band had made and have kept making. I can honestly say that Maniacult along with the previous four albums have given Aborted a top-tier placement with me. While their progress could be viewed by some as being more of a side step than a stride forward, I would say otherwise. Sure they’re not tearing down the doors of progressive unknowns, but who cares? What they are doing is providing excellent examples of what makes extreme metal so damn appealing to listeners like us.

Telling the tale of cult leader Wayland Thurston and his attempt to summon ancient elder evils of Lovecraftian/Summerian lore, Maniacult definitely delivers the goods. And speaking of goods, the band has some nice merch to accompany the new album, even offering a Wayland Thurston collectable action figure that is actually quite an impressive looking package. Like I just stated, since 2012’s Global Flatline, Aborted  have been on a most righteous path of Carcass meets Cattle Decaptiation levels of  grinding intensity and technical groove and with Maniacult nothing has necessarily changed. If that’s a thing you would consider to be bad then you should stay away from this release, and probably turn in your metal card as well, for the rest of us Maniacult is another ripping notch in the bullet-belt of savage, semi-tech, death grooved Aborted-core.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
September 28th, 2021

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