The Archaic Abattoir

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Over the course of their first, tumultuous decade of existence, Aborted's career has ironically corresponded to the rampant carnage described in so many of their grind-gore songs; with the limbs of countless musicians figuratively left hacked on the killing floor as leader and vocalist Sven de Caluwé (Gurgloroth Sven to his friends) sought to assemble the ideal team of sonic butchers to wield instrumental knives by his side. But his long and bloody search seems to have been worth it considering his band's quite masterful, and one might add, not all that gore-reliant 2005 release The Archaic Abattoir. A virtual embarrassment of inspirational riches, in fact, Aborted's fourth full album avoids simplistic categorization by incorporating a broad range of lyrical and musical influences from across death metal's wide terrain. To wit, one can readily identify the work of mid-period Napalm Death (and really any number of other post-grind outfits) in the sludgy bottom-end-propelling hyper-technical displays of Suffocation-like proportions, and laced with the deft melodic touches of a latter-day Carcass. Sound appetizing enough? It likely wouldn't be were it not for the expert production job put in by Tue Madsen (Heaven Shall Burn, the Haunted, etc.), which finds a way to separate what could have easily turned into a blinding drum-and-guitar avalanche into distinct instrumentation, meaningful arrangements, and by extension, discernible songs. As such, initial standouts like "Gestated Rabidity" (neat harmonies), "Hecatomb" (unconscious riffing), and the spectacularly named "Threading on Vermillion Deception" (deserving of a prize for its title alone) are afforded absolutely crucial dynamic breathing room with which to get their hateful messages across. And, speaking of which, much credit in that last regard must go to frontman Caluwé, whose versatile vocal mix of screams, snarls, and growls -- however gurgled -- generally still manage to clearly enunciate his lyrics amid the mayhem (hear him wax crust-etic on the tongue-twisting "Voracious Haemoglobinic Syndrome" and serenade what may or may not be a corpse in "The Inertia") -- no mean feat. Throw in a few more discreet stylistic nods to Hatesphere's neo-thrash shouts in "Dead Wreckoning" and to Bolt Thrower's advancing inevitability in "The Gangrenous Epitaph," and there's even more quality death metal on hand, and additional good reason to single out The Archaic Abattoir as Aborted's finest hour thus far.

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