ABORTED – Strychnine.213

Wasting no time on their followup to last year’s impressive Slaughter and Apparatus, the Belgian death machine known as ABORTED are back with perhaps their most melodic, diverse work to date with Strychnine.213. Starting as far back as 2003’s Goremageddon, ABORTED began injecting elements of groove and melody in to their sound, so 2008’s evolution should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, progression and experimentation are often unwelcome ideas when presented to death metal diehards who would prefer to hear a band regurgitate the same tired rehashed CANNIBAL CORPSE rip-off riffs over and over again. Luckily for open-minded extreme music fans, ABORTED doesn’t give a fuck about that, and have forged ahead with complete disregard to detractors. Intro “Carrion” builds in atmospheric intensity with a showcase of new drummer Dan Wilding‘s considerable talents before exploding in to the first proper song “Ophiolatry on a Hemocite Platter.” The speed is fast and the blast beats are a plenty, and Sven De Caluwe delivers the low growls with plenty of conviction. The difference here is the band incorporates several halftime grooves in the choruses as well as unveiling a soaring melodic guitar solo that signals a departure from past efforts. With “Ophiolatry” as a blueprint, Strychnine.213 unfolds with the band alternating tempos, and grooves seemingly at will, slipping in scraps and bits of melody (especially in the guitar work) throughout the proceedings. The epic sounding “A Murmur in Decrepit Wits” for example, alternates between swamp-mired sludge, mid-tempo riffing, and blast beat ridden fury. In less than three minutes, the effective “Hereditary Bane” counters with more flurries of blasting speed, a quick thrash pattern, and a half-tempo hook that borrows heavily from their idols, CARCASS. Closing out the album is “The Obfuscate” which despite a deceptive death n’ roll intro, quickly unleashes a torrent of over-the top speed, interspersing elements of atmosphere behind all the audio carnage. A brave effort from one of the kings of goregrind who have succeeded in taking risks within the context of death metal, pushing what can be done in that frame work with no apologies. A more mature level of death metal has arrived, and if it’s too much for you to take, well United Gutteral should have a new album out to shit your pants to sometime this year. (Century Media Records)

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