When it comes to brutal death metal few bands, if any, can match the absolute brutality and mastery that Aborted has achieved over their now twenty plus year career. They’ve established themselves as one of the pioneers of the death-grind genre. Aborted deserves the highest of praise for their ability to produce intense and relentless music time after time without ever repeating or getting stale like most bands do when they’ve been in the business as long as Aborted has. In my opinion, Aborted has never made a bad record or even a bad song for that matter. Every song these guys have ever put out is top-notch, sub par is not in their nature. Usually, when bands go through as many lineup changes as Aborted has throughout the years they waver from their signature sound and evolve into something else. That is definitely not the case with Aborted. Lead vocalist and last remaining founding member, Sven “Svencho” De Caluwe has consistently found new band members throughout the years that just seem to fit the band perfectly. That could possibly be the secret as to how Aborted stays so fresh.
The line up on Retrogore is pretty much the same as The Necrotic Manifesto aside from Danny Tunker being replaced by Ian Jekelis (ex-Abigail Williams) on guitar. Ian‘s performance, along with Mendel Bij De Leij on guitar is nothing short of amazing. The riffs are stellar, the playing is relentlessly fast and precise, and the solos are face melting. Holding down the low end and keeping the band tight on bass, J.B. Van Der Wal puts on an equally impressive display of speed and precision. Ken Bedene puts on an absolute drum clinic on this album. He seems to effortlessly switch from blasting at mind blowing speeds, to insanely fast double bass with flawless accuracy and timing. Ken‘s performance far surpassed any expectations and surely solidified his place with the upper echelon of extreme metal drummers. Once again, Sven “Svencho” De Caluwe reminds us why he is one of the unique and most recognizable voices in extreme music today. He delivers an absolutely stellar performance on Retrogore and wrote some gore-ific lyrics as well. As if Sven‘s vocals aren’t enough to make the listener’s ears bleed profusely, Retrogore also features a number of guest spots from some of death metal’s finest. Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation, Julien Truchan from Benighted, Jason Keyser from Origin, and just to mix things up a bit David Davidson from Revocation.
Retrogore, the band’s ninth studio album continues Aborted‘s obvious theme of gore and horror inspired brutal death metal that their fans have come to expect. It also further solidifies that Aborted is still one of the top dogs and a trailblazer in the brutal death metal and grind genres. Aborted seems to have found another level of intensity ever since 2012’s Global Flatline with high-velocity BPM’s and extremely intense music that is leaning more toward the death metal side of the death-grind genre. On Retrogore, they have reached a whole other level of speed and intensity. Retrogore is the fastest and most face pummeling record Aborted has released to date. While it sets a new level of speed for the band, they still keep the music almost melodic and groovy which really makes all the blast beats and heavy riffing that much more effective and satisfying. This album is packed full of memorable tracks and despite all the songs being incredibly fast they still seem to keep things interesting and experiment with their sound quite a bit throughout the album. They even have keyboards in parts for atmospheric purposes. Another thing to point out is the production on Retrogore. Over Aborted‘s nine studio albums the production quality has steadily gotten better with each release and Retrogore is no exception. This is the best sounding album they have released to date. My only complaint would be that J.B. Van Der Wal‘s bass gets a little lost in the mix at times which can happen pretty easily with this particular type of music. The follow up to 2014’s The Necrotic Manifesto, Retrogore without a doubt stands up with the rest of Aborted‘s catalog, no sweat. Is it as good as Goremageddon? Not in my opinion, but it is easily comparable. Retrogore is an homage to classic horror and has sound clips scattered throughout the album from all sorts of films and television which just adds to the overall horrific, blood splattered, gore fest that is Retrogore.
Retrogore opens with a strange and creepy track called “Dellamorte Dellamore.” A song that sounds like it’s being played on an old record player. It’s a perfect track to set the atmosphere for the bloodbath (not the band) your ears are about to experience. As soon as “Dellamorte Dellamore” comes to a close the title track, “Retrogore” kicks in with a relentless pummeling of blast beats, brutal riffs, and Sven‘s familiar voice beating you down mercilessly. The track slows down during the interlude just under halfway through adding complexity and groove to this explosive song. “Cadaverous Banquet” features Julien Truchan (Benighted) on guest vocals and it’s one of my favorite tracks on Retrogore. It’s another explosion of brutal riffs, very impressive and precise drumming, and a magical contrast between Sven and Julien‘s voices. This song sounds like pure evil, especially once the slow creepy interlude kicks in. “Whoremageddon” is a very traditional sounding Aborted track. It just has that classic Aborted feel, heavy as hell, but very melodic at the same time. On “Termination Redux” Aborted puts on another intense display of technicality and complexity. This song is packed full of riffs and some insane drumming. It also features an extremely evil sounding interlude that leads into a killer guitar solo. Definitely another stand out track for me. “Bit By Bit” is another track that is just classic Aborted. It’s brutal, it’s fast and delightfully disgusting. The lyrics are blood and guts through and through. “Divine Impediment” is an incredible track, definitely another favorite for me. It features Travis Ryan on guest vocals and it literally sounds like Aborted meets Cattle Decapitation, both musically and vocal wise. “Coven Of Ignorance” features David Davidson from Revocation on guest vocals. It’s a perfect bridge between the two bands, creating a gore-infused thrash metal monster of a track. Jason Keyser from Origin performs guest vocals on “Mephitc Conundrum,” an impressive, relentless onslaught of speed and brutality. I dig this track quite a bit as well. Ken Bedene‘s drumming on this track is absolutely mind blowing. Clocking in at just under three minutes, “Forged To Decrepitude” is the shortest track on Retrogore, aside from the opening track “Dellamorte Dellamore.” What it lacks in time it more than makes up in intensity. “From Beyond (The Grave)” is another heavy, but at the same time, a very groovy and melodic track. The final track, “In Avernus,” is a perfect closer to this perfect album. It’s the final scene. The grand finale. It’s a very atmospheric and dark song that has a story with a clear beginning, middle and end to the music.
The amount of intensity and sheer speed from start to finish on Retrogore is impressive, to say the least. The Belgian gore masters have outdone themselves once again with this one. Retrogore is probably the best brutal death metal album we’ll hear this year. Everyone in the band put on a top-notch performance and Kristian “Kohle” Kohlmannslehner did a great job on production. Overall I think Retrogore is one of the best albums Aborted has ever put out and that’s saying a lot considering we’re talking about Aborted here. From start to finish this album is relentlessly intense and keeps you interested the whole way through. Each song is unique and still undeniably Aborted. Retrogore was released April twenty-second through Century Media Records and you can pick up a copy through the Amazon link (BUY: Aborted – Retrogore). I enjoyed Retrogore so much I’m giving it a perfect 666/666 horns. I highly recommend picking up a copy. It’s gore-ific.
Shawn “Short-Fuse” Carter