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WHA HAPPENED!? - 30%

Noktorn, March 20th, 2011

I'm one of the few who actually supported Aborted's move to a more mainstream, melodic, metalcore-influenced sound with 'The Archaic Abattoir'. While many considered it selling out, I thought the band finally hit their stride with that album, blending extreme and mainstream styles of death metal in a wonderfully catchy and infectious way. That being said, there's literally nothing I can do to justify 'Strychnine.213'. This is possibly Aborted's worst album to date, managing to have a thousand musical ideas that never go anywhere, haphazard, aimless songwriting, and incredible amounts of repetition throughout the album's (thankfully short) running time. I don't know what the hell happened here, but Aborted have badly fallen off track with this release.

Aborted's sense of riffcraft and songwriting has been pretty industrialized at this point in their career: a blend of slightly more melodic than usual death/grind tremolo against fairly oldschool, slow death metal riffs and periodic forays into metalcore breakdowns or US-style melodeath riffing. The combination makes for a really varied and engaging texture. On 'Strychnine.213', however, it seems the band decided to just throw all those elements in a pot together and stir until it became an indistinguishable mess. The tracks seem predominantly midpaced, but not particularly heavy or sludgy- they're just filled with go-nowhere riffs which feature a completely bizarre hint of Zakk Wylde-style southern rock. Not to say they do any better when they speed things up; the tremolo riffs tend to be rather randomly arranged, and the almost omnipresent cock-rock soloing is hideously overwrought and does nothing but detach the listener ever more from the album. Sven's vocals sound tired, haggard, and phoned-in, and despite the blast beats and low guitar tuning, the band just sounds incredibly unenthusiastic about what they're playing. Given the quality of the material, I can understand it.

Another problem is that the flow of the album seems to get broken constantly, be it by the same bland Charles Manson sample we've all heard a thousand times before, an inappropriate clean guitar interlude, or just one of the hundred obnoxious solos that dot the disc like flies on a rotting orange. The music has no real sense of motion or drive behind it- when a song ends, you're not really in a different place from where it began, and it's honestly very difficult to tell when a track changes unless you're paying a great deal of attention. The album just seems to go by in a blur and the band doesn't seem very concerned with making each (or any) of the tracks unique and interesting. It's just almost forty minutes of the band playing what amounts to the same song over and over again, excising all the things that made Aborted a great band before and replacing it with pure filler.

This is a pretty dire record and I'm hoping this was just a fluke. Aborted have proven themselves to be a strong band in the past, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is their one big mistake that I can give a pass to. Still, that doesn't make this album any better, and you definitely shouldn't pick it up if you demand anything from your music at all. Basically worthless.