Slaughter & Apparatus: A Methodical Overture

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Although the title of Aborted's fifth effort, Slaughter & Apparatus: A Methodical Overture, actually resembles that of a Carcass album, it's fair to say that the statute of limitations for comparing these Belgians to the original masters of clinical death-grind (who had disbanded over a decade earlier) has officially expired. If not, then ex-Carcass man Jeff Walker's guest appearance on this record should, at the very least, serve as some sort of blessing, or passing of the torch, so that Aborted can just get on with their brutal business. In any case, getting on with business is what they do here, and the LP's title is certainly indicative of the quartet's inspired tightrope walk between the realms of unrestrained grindcore savagery and meticulously crafted death metal technicality. Take synthesizer-enhanced offerings (yes, synthesizers!) like "Avenious" and "And Carnage Basked in Its Ebullience," for example, or the harmony- and melody-rich (not quite the Gothenburg school, but close enough for comparison) title track and "Ingenuity in Genocide" -- none of this qualifies as your run-of-the-mill grindcore material. Also, as well as making you run for the dictionary, "Underneath Rorulent Soil" (Ro'ru'lent: having the surface appearing as if dusty, or covered with fine dew) boasts the coolest, atmospheric death metal intro/outro combo to be heard in a very long time. Finally worth calling attention to is how bandmembers Sven de Caluwé and Sebastien Tuvi alternate the guttural Cookie Monster growls traditional to both grind and death metal with more intelligible hardcore-style shouting throughout these 11 tracks, all to great effect. Ultimately, it's exactly these gutsy departures from restrictive grindcore conventions that have placed Aborted on many genre purists' hit lists -- much as they did the now much mourned Carcass, throughout their storied career, ironically enough. So, although there's something to be said for remaining unwaveringly loyal to one's origins, the ability to evolve should never be condemned when it breeds results as exciting as this.

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