Saturday, April 30, 2016

Aborted - Retrogore

Band:  Aborted
Album:  Retrogore
Country of Origin:  Belgium
Genre:  Death Metal
Release Date:  April 22, 2016
Label:  Century Media

Retrogore by the Belgian death metal band Aborted is, by my count, their 9th full length.  Factor in their numerous splits, EPs, and demos, and you have quite an impressive output by these 20+ year veterans of extreme metal.  The album contains 12 tracks, including a short intro track and 11 proper songs.  The album is available in digipack CD format and can be purchased here.   They will be playing live at a number of festivals (mostly in Europe) beginning in July.

Before I get into what the album sounds like, I feel it important to give a brief rundown on my own musical preferences.  The key point is that I am not a fan of death metal.  I find it generally boring and unimaginative.  I tend to not like the vocals or bludgeoning style of the composition.  There is however, a growing list of exceptions.  This band and this album are definitely on that list of exceptions.  I just want my readers to understand what it means for me to speak so highly of this album.

One of the outcomes of not being much of a death metal fan is that I don't have a wealth of comparison points in writing about Retrogore.  I don't have any other bands with whom I can compare the album.  I do have the Aborted albums Necrotic Manifesto and the Termination Redux EP in my collection, both of which are well done (the former especially), but I can't even compare to "classic" Aborted.  I'm left with talking about impressions and trying to describe the sounds I hear.

Retrogore is a relentless album which grabs you by the throat and drags you along full tilt from beginning to end.  The five piece from Belgium never let up in their ferocious attack.  The parts of songs which do slow down a bit are there merely to give you a comparison point so you don't become numb to the violence of the aural attack.  The guitar work is riff after riff of high energy terror with excellently placed and well composed brief solos sprinkled in throughout.  I don't think of death metal as the place for guitar solos and I even think that the genre would be weakened by a ton of noodling.  However, the length, intensity, violence, and sparsity of the solos here are brilliantly conceived.  The drumming is brutal, but never falls into the common death metal trap of repetitiveness.  Bedene has some serious creative and technical chops on the drum kit.  Vocals are another area where death metal often falls short for me, but again Aborted breaks the mold.  The vocals are varied and vicious, generally positively adding to the negative atmosphere being created.  The bass is not prominent in the mix, but enough can be heard to know that van der Wal can keep rhythm and add intensity.  I'm certain there is more going on there, but I think I'd need to watch him play live to really catch it.

Edit:  I found the following quote on Metal Archives:  "The band supports 'Metalheads against Racism' action."  Just one more reason to support them!  

Recommendation:  For any fan of extreme metal, not just death metal fans, this one's a keeper.  Go get it.

Rating:  4/5

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