Review: Aborted “Maniacult” [Century Media Records]

Review: Aborted “Maniacult” [Century Media Records]

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Three years have passed since Belgian cult death metalheads Aborted pleased us with the studio albums, and this fall they have returned with totally new work called ManiaCult. And fourteen years in collaboration with Century Media Records have borne fruit again and again; Aborted is one of the most revered extreme metal bands from Belgium.

But the reputation of Aborted on the narrow death metal scene isn’t so immaculate, their experimentations with modern elements wasn’t always welcomed by diehard fans of the genre. Now their death metal is inclined more towards grindcore movement, but still, this slight shade of metalcore/deathcore isn’t a rare sight in their music even now. Of course, they are fond of their widespread fanbase, but when it comes to a creative process, they express themselves out of advices or whining of the old school admirers. And even during their most controversial albums they have managed to preserve their unique trademark. But these constant creative alterations don’t come as a surprise with their frequent line-up changes. There is only one musician left, who worked the way through, the singer Sven de Caluwé, inimitable source of inspiration for the band’s steady evolution.

ManiaCult is a heavy album, no doubt about it, but this time the heaviness is rather soaked in darkness, not in a brutal and forthright way, and much credit for that should be given to an obtrusive and mild use of samples and keyboards from the guest producer Kohle, responsible also for the sound mixing. These gave the album the atmospheric vibes, but not the softness (“A vulgar Quagmire” or “Ceremonial Ineptitude”). The modern elements are also discreetly placed into the overall structural pattern of the songs, never ruining the straightforward anger of death metal (like in “Grotesque” or “I Prediletti: The Folly of the Gods”). But the melodic lines, popping up here and there during this record are especially vivid on “Dementophobia”, almost bordering on melodic death metal guidelines.

ManiaCult isn’t too intricate or tough album to perceive, but there are some sophisticated details that add some challenging vibes – the overcomplicated structural forms on “Impetus Odi”, chaotic disharmony on “Portal to Vacuity” or psychedelic features on half-intro “Verderf”. And there are enough mood changes to please everyone without ever getting bored, but without a zealous ardor, capable to create erratic mess, ManiaCult still remains a solid death metal record without sissy whimpering or avant-garde flirtations.

There is some kind of death metal code in the extreme scene, and if you don’t follow it blindly, it’s way too easy to be criticized to pieces. But now there is much tolerant attitude towards originality or competent stylistic mixtures, even in such a conservative genre like death metal. The music of Aborted is very well displayed on their last cover art – bright, grotesque and creepy, and with their ability to play with melodies, modernity and heaviness; no one is able to stop their creative current of maddening desire to play loudly and from the heart.

Release date: September 10th, 2021

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