Written by: RUB on 09/09/2021 15:18:01

The Bevern, East Flemings of Aborted sure is consistent when it comes to album releases. Every other year since the release of the great “Global Flatline” back in 2012, they’ve consistently put out one great death-grind album after the other. To switch things up, however, it has now been a full three years (if you only count full-lengths, as they released the EP “La Grande Mascarade” in 2020) since they released the absolutely smashing “TerrorVision” in 2018, which managed to take the first spot on my EOTY-list back then. It’s tough to follow something as brilliant as that one, which in my book ranks as one of their best, but after listening to the few singles released prior to its release, ManiaCult definitely sounded like it wouldn’t disappoint. How will the full album, and 11th full-length, fair against the brutal brilliance with which fans have grown accustomed?

The eerie and brutal intro of “Verderf” sets the stage and warns of imminent destruction. And as it paves the way for the title track, there’s little doubt that Aborted has changed the genre. It’s crushing, brutal and fast, with the well-known and terrifyingly hellish growls and shrieks of the machine in front, Sven de Caluwé. There’s still plenty of grooves to be found, as the track changes pace at a stunningly fast rate, but without losing any edge of the well-timed breakdowns and stellar rhythmic and melodic sections. Whilst not being the best track on offer, it was definitely enough to pique my interest. The first lead single from the album was Impetus Odi. Another devastating piece with a classic Aborted sound. The slow groove combined with machine gun-fire drums switching back and forth sends nods towards their peers in both Benighted and Cattle Decapitation. After a few perhaps more standard Aborted tracks, my personal highlight arrives in the form of “A Vulgar Quagmire”. In my book, this has everything Aborted is revered for; eerie sounds, heavy groove, piercing melody, and straight-up death-grind. Although “ManiaCult” packs several bangers, I must confess this to be my top spot without any clear competition. Once again, the way the level of aggression hits you straight in the face, just to seconds later be turned into a groovier piece with plenty of melodies and smashing drum tremolo is just top-shelf. A much-needed breather in the form of “Verbolgen”, the interlude-track following, couldn’t have come at a better time.

The album as a whole tells the tale of leader Wayland Thurston’s attempt to summon Lovecraftian demons, to usher at the end of the world. To do so, Aborted has opted to utilize several cameos (four in total), featuring members of both Fit For An Autopsy, Crystal Lake, Shadow Of Intent, and Humanity’s Last Breath adding their take on vocal styles to the crushing soundscape. Although de Caluwé is well-known for his wide range of snarls, shrieks, and growls, this always adds some nice variation to the vocals and just adds more layers to the impressive soundscape in general. Although the tracks as a whole don’t come near the track highlighted in the former paragraph, I would still like to highlight the vocal performances of Ryo Kinoshita from Crystal Lake in “Ceremonial Ineptitude” and Filip Danielsson from Humanity’s Last Breath in “Drag Me to Hell”. As cameos such as these should add to the extreme nature of Aborted’s tracks, I find these two, in particular, to elevate the tracks even further. When listening to these tracks, it instantly hit me that it didn’t sound like de Caluwé. So, what this does is it makes the insanely extreme tracks that more extreme, especially when combined with de Caluwé’s own vicious vocals. As the more complete track, I find “Drag Me to Hell” to be the best of those two, but in general quite successful addition to the album, I must say.

At the end of the day, the feeling I’m left with is that it’s just not quite there. The album is good, packs plenty of punch and groove, but within the realm of Aborted I’d always expect something else and a bit out of the ordinary - maybe even a bit more insane. As was the case with the former album of “TerrorVision”, I was simply blown away by the intensity, insanity, and brutality the album contained, well aware of how the band actually sounded like; sadly, that’s not a hundred percent the case with “ManiaCult”. With a back catalogue as brutal and absurdly good as Aborted’s, it’s simply near-impossible to keep outdoing yourself. As is the case throughout their history, as is the case with the large majority of bands in general, a few of their albums have simply put, just not been as incredible as their predecessors. ManiaCult, however, delivers enough bangers to not be labeled as below average or easy to forget, which are phrases I would normally never use about Aborted, but it simply just pales in comparison to some of their other works. Fear not! I don’t expect Aborted to be slowing down any time soon, so if you happen to agree with the points presented in this review, they should return in full force in two or three years to once again blow your ears out with their brutal signature sound.

Download: A Vulgar Quagmire; Impetus Odi; Drag Me to Hell; ManiaCult; Ceremonial Inerptitude
For the fans of: Benighted, Dying Fetus, Cattle Decapitation, Misery Index, Cannibal Corpse, Severe Torture
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.09.2021
Century Media Records

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