Aborted
Vault of Horrors


3.9
excellent

Review

by Benjamin Jack STAFF
March 21st, 2024 | 59 replies


Release Date: 03/15/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'I don't know what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is’

It will surprise no-one to learn that Aborted’s latest album is good. What might be a surprise, though, is exactly how good this latest offering is. The Belgian quartet have been riding a consistent, offal-filled wave for a good many years now, and their familiar brand of breakneck death metal carnage in tandem with their recent classic horror overtones has proven to be quite the lucrative combo. Their status as one of the most reliably nasty modern extreme metal acts is well-founded considering the quarter-century they’ve been on the scene, and it’s undeniably impressive that they have managed to keep the pedal to the floor in such a committed manner for so long. For Vault of Horrors, Aborted have not so much revitalised their sound as kept the wheels rolling, albeit at an even more ludicrous pace than before. A frenzied, riff-laden monstrosity lurks behind that hilariously gratuitous album art; one which barely stops to catch its breath during the 40 minute runtime. Additionally, the comparative lethargy of certain elements that hampered albums Retrogore through ManiaCult have either been tweaked or stripped out completely, and as a result, Vault of Horrors can be reasonably crowned as the best Aborted effort of the last decade.

Everything that could be expected of an Aborted record is here by the shovelload, from the genuinely catchy, crunchy riffs, to the cult film worship and mucus-gargling vocals of Sven de Caluwé. Also exemplified throughout are some unusually brash songwriting choices that harken back to the days of Goremageddon moreso than the comparatively pulpy shenanigans of their more recent output. For instance, ‘Brotherhood of Sleep’ and ‘The Golgothan’ have these pummelling movements that truly envelop the musical landscape by way of sheer grind barbarity. Searing blastbeats flank relentless aural assaults, linking riffs and shooting the pieces through with a genuinely chaotic atmosphere. Similarly, ‘Insect Politics’ has a peppering of these face-melting asides during the brief duration, and every instance is satisfyingly ferocious. This should not suggest that the overall musicality has drastically changed since previous release ManiaCult however (despite the more notable deathcore influence), but it’s heartening to see that a touch more of the grind sound has been further injected back into the style, even if it’s only the influence thereof. Elsewhere, the riffs and breakdowns throughout the release are just lovely, ‘The Shape of Hate’, a noteworthy standout in this regard, is a bold and fist-clenching composition, lurching from one hideous moment to the next with the grace of a guillotine blade slicing home from full height. Vocally, de Caluwé has seldom sounded better, with the gutturals and mid-range shrieks uniformly soul-rending and appropriately berserk.

Despite being the usual gore-drenched white-knuckle ride, the production here is something of a mixed bag. It sparkles with precision and finesse whilst accentuating certain guitar passages and hooks, but when the more dissonant sections kick in there’s just a little too much polish. This has been a slight issue with most of the band’s recent output, but it’s been cranked up to terminal velocity on Vault, and at its worst the effect is distractingly uneven. On cuts like ‘Hellbound’, the frenetic fretwork feels a touch tinny when it should pop amidst the background chaos, and the chugging grooves, although head-bobbing, do not have the crunch they need to afford them the maximum destructive impact. ‘Naturom Demonto’ is also worthy of a mention, segueing into a slowly building bridge before the breakdown which has a distinctively crushing din set against the music that surrounds it; it feels sinister in a convincing way, rather than the usual circus-of-horrors sideshow. Unfortunately though, the sonic texture here is more akin to layered instrumentation than a cohesive singularity- the result is a sound too refined for the bludgeoning nature of the music. Thankfully, the issue is in no way a garish shortcoming and thankfully only rears its ugly head on sporadic occasions. In any case, the songwriting is still strong enough to shine through and any poor impression left by the production fades to background static once the engines truly start roaring. And roar they do.

Brandishing the same old arsenal they’ve been tooled up with for the past quarter century but with newly sharpened blades and freshly oiled motors, Vault of Horrors is a delightfully lurid selection of modern death metal knee-slappers that, despite their typical consistent tone, never wear out their welcome. There’s a willingness to build and improve upon established motifs that has led to a few ill-advised production choices, but insofar as the music itself is concerned, this is the most convincingly assertive Aborted have been since Global Flatline. Always dynamic and tinged with glances toward adjacent metal genres, the album is able to surprise even as it gives listeners that familiar slew of high-energy violence. The guitar and drum work, courtesy of Ian Jekelis, Dan Konradsson and Ken Bedene, is impressive throughout, and de Caluwé's vocals are a thing of beauty, alongside an onslaught of visiting frontmen paying their respects in fine fashion. Oliver Aleron (Archspire) and Ricky Hoover (Suffokate) especially do superb work on their respective tracks, but performances are universally excellent by all involved. Even set against the occasional modest failings of the production, the outfit has gifted us another blood-soaked full-length, another gleefully gory album artwork, and a satisfyingly brutal time all round.



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user ratings (96)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2024


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

sorry for the tardiness, I've just been too enraptured by this carnage to post.

Album's absolutely nuts

DDDeftoneDDD
March 21st 2024


22347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rips af

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


88111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

evilford
March 22nd 2024


64366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sick, must check



Also who the fuck is this pumpboffbag fellow (who's staff??) who digs dm (apparently), and why have I not heard of this individual prior to today's date?



I must gather more details!

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


88111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ford have u heard this band at all???

evilford
March 22nd 2024


64366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29799 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ford stop trolling, ofc you've heard aborted before

evilford
March 22nd 2024


64366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


88111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn son!!

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I quietly worked my way up the ranks to bring the system down from the inside, but in the meantime I’m here for all your (occasional) dm needs ford. Thanks for reading and pleased to meet ya

and yeah if you’ve not listened to these guys before based on your taste profile I HIGHLY recommend it. They’ve always gone exceptionally hard

DDDeftoneDDD
March 22nd 2024


22347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lmao ford



I kinda know this avi though

evilford
March 22nd 2024


64366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool to meet u pump, I just waste so much time here I was surprised there was a staffer who digs dm in any capacity that I did not know about



Yeah I will check these guys soon. Huge discog too. Boon for me if I dig em :D

DDDeftoneDDD
March 22nd 2024


22347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ford reacting as if hey's meeting some female dm fan



XD



Just press play on the damn record

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Fs let ford shoot his shot in peace, would you?

Egarran
March 22nd 2024


34092 Comments


What a sweet review.

Rowhaus
March 22nd 2024


6130 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is a great review and the artwork reminds me of The House That Jack Built. Unfortunately the album feels like another hyper-polished, run-of-the-mill modern metal release. It bored me to tears and having a guest on every track seems really gratuitous. The deathcore elements certainly didn't help either.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 22nd 2024


22347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Look how smart

How dumb we

bloc
March 22nd 2024


70186 Comments


Where the hell did some of your avatars go

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29799 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

every time thanos snaps his fingers, a random sputbro is consigned to oblivion

Rowhaus
March 22nd 2024


6130 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It won't be long before Sput's top shitposters assemble for battle. The fate of Sputnik hangs in the balance.



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