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Aborted – ‘Maniacult’

Century Media Records
Cattle Decapitation, Ingested, Dying Fetus
Release Date
September 10, 2021
Century Media Records
Death Metal

The Belgian Death Metal dreadnaughts, Aborted return with their eleventh full length album, titled ‘Maniacult’, released on Century Media Records. If you are not familiar with Aborted……..please…please do…get acquainted…but for those who are not, they were formed in 1995 and since have produced a slew of releases that all dispel an air of quality with each album. Aborted is one of those bands who are known by all, but in this reviewer’s opinion, they don’t really get the appreciation in which they deserve, for its rather evident the road that these titans have paved for a newer breed of bands both rooted in Death Metal and even Deathcore who have tasted the flesh of Aborted and as such, integrated that essence into their own. That being said, let’s get into this release!

First major highlight is the production on ‘Maniacult” which discharges a pristine aura towards the tracks, and before you scratch your head and click away from the review…let me explain. The quality on this album has a sharp yet clean tone to it whereby all variables are audible as well as discernable to the ear, where it shines as a positive is that Aborted implements the juxtaposition between the sordid elements and the streamlined production clarity rather seamlessly. Like a pathologist who skillfully examines a carcass, carefully making calculated incisions upon the dehydrated flesh to negate the weeping of ripen fluids, so too does the mix on the album retain its graveolent stench without sacrificing its musical virtuosity. Songs like, ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and Portal to Vacuity’ demonstrate this by constructing an abattoir of malaise whereby the sounds reverberate off the blood slicked walls pulsating and piercing the morbid atmosphere. Leaning upon the same mix, another benefit that it brings to the table is the method in which it enhances the effluvia dispelled by the atmosphere erected by Aborted’s musical structures. This can vary as the noise sometimes swells around the listener encapsulating the senses while also shrinking at times producing a more intimate listening experience, which almost feels like placing a finger within a gaping wound, where you can explore the depth and squelching of tissue.

If the production created the slaughterhouse, then the musical aspect would be the fresh cadavers that are hoisted upon its meat hooks secreting a distinct aroma clinging to each flesh mannequin, just like the stench that would differ with the stages of decomposition of gangrenous wounds, so too does the instrumental components permeates throughout the album. Even though the skeletal anatomy of Aborted is comprised of Death Metal, the band has always experimented with different variations of the genre, such as Progressive, Grind and even Technical, while those constructs are inlaid within the flesh and tissue of the band, ‘Dementophobia’ and ‘Ceremonial Ineptitude’ are examples which showcase the erratic playing on ‘Maniacult’ with the fusion of the discordant chords and thunderous drumming. The guitars patterns here mutate into different progressions but still retain the intensity which is exhibited by the aggression fueled percussion. A highlight of the musical aspect is the way the unification of the drums and guitars flow into alternating streams, for instance some song patterns may go from a more Deathgrind nuance and then branch off to a more Tech Death flavor, but where Aborted shines is the merging of these conflicting streams into one singular body, in other words, even though there exists disparity within the shades of extremity involved, when the elements become conjoined there is no protrusion nor any rejection of this amalgamation, as the musical  segments flows synonymously, and that is where Aborted greatest strength lies in ‘Maniacult’…. the ability to assemble contrasting constructs into an individual entity.

A standout on any Aborted album will always be the vocals, as it’s the lungs which expels the rancorous vile that seeps into the musical elements birthing new constructs. If an imagery were to be envisioned from the vocal delivery, one may imagine an extraterrestrial entity that has quickened as a spoor in the belly that now wants to coexist as it spreads its essence through its host with contemptuous hate bellowed forth as the pain and agony expands the throat producing blackened fluids as the figure claims the dwelling of flesh. The vocals on ‘Maniacult’ contort to different registers ranging from high or low but assimilating itself within the musical components perfectly as it never feels peripheral in nature. Another highlight upon the album is the guest vocals that appear, what is appreciated is that they are immaculately blended into the main vox, but it never feels flat lined, rather it injects a different shade of vigor to the delivery, the title track, ‘Maniacult’ features a guest performance by Joe Badolato (Fit for an Autopsy) and is a prime example how a guest spot should be done as it magnifies the intensity presented by the original vox.

Taking a detour in this review, one thing that must be noted is the artwork of this album illustrated by the legendary, Par Olofsson, now you’re probably pondering “What the hell does the artwork has to do with the album???”…and to a certain point, you are probably correct…but hear me out. What is appreciated here is that Aborted packages this complete work of art in a ‘comic-book’ like aura, where the overall album feels like an event, the artwork gives the vibe of a modernized Ed Repka  with the multitude of colors utilized that makes the art ‘pop’ and rather eye-catching….but does it affect the album? Yes….since the visual aspect now creates an image in which the musical variables can coexist within…heck…they even have a mascot on the album, the central corpse-looking emaciated figure, nicknamed ‘Wayland Thurston’, sure it may be comical, but in my opinion it exudes the feeling where the listener can feel as though they are a part of this clan, like opening your favorite book and diving into the world….the artwork facilitates this medium for the listener to undertake this experience.

Soooo… we’ve dissected each individual component of the album, and as one can see, each factor brings its own unique personality towards this release….but how is this concoction when mixed into the petri dish that is ‘Maniacult’? If you’ve heard previous Aborted albums you would know that there is a consistency with the output of quality, but even though all belong to the same vein, the essence that courses through each release comprises of slightly altered chemicals that don’t stray too far away from the core DNA but still feels organic. The same can be said about this album, even though it does use the same formulaic approach as the past, it’s not monotonous as there are morsels to be enjoyed that shifts the plates that hold this foundation, but not too much as to make it crumble. Those same thick tones that are enough to decimate a building together with the crushing breakdowns and monumental crescendos are still prevalent on ‘Maniacult’. So in conclusion, yes….this is a fantastic album that can anatomized for its musical and vocal merits. For Aborted fans, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this, for Extreme Metal fans who aren’t new to the band…you too will also glean much pleasure from ‘Maniacult’.

a fantastic album that can anatomized for its musical and vocal merits

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