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Aborted have always been one of my favourite death metal bands. Especially with the first two albums - The Purity Of Perversion, and Engineering The Dead. Part of what makes these albums so memorable for me, is the fact that this is really the most honest Aborted have ever been whilst writing their music - and that is not to say that their new stuff is bad, by any stretch; keep in mind I did say they are among my favourite death metal bands. What makes these two albums so memorable for me, is the lack of overproduction, the lack of reliance on merely chugging or playing as technically as possible, and Sven's vocals sound as diverse & disgusting as they ever will.
This is not an album you'd want to play for your gran during a weekly visit for tea, nor is it something that lacks any sort of visceral quality. From start to finish, this album is chaotic & brutal, complimented by an extremely raw production quality that does work to Aborted's advantage. Opening with an intro consisting merely of samples from a horror movie, it's sort of expected that this is your average, run of the mill brutal death metal album, but truly... Its not. Track 2, Act of Supremacy, bursts out with a technical guitar riff accompanying by blasting drums and intricate fills, before the vocals drop into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Upon first hearing this album, this was when I realized that I had found a hidden gem. Why more people don't love this album, I'll never know.
Track 3 is The Lament Configuration, and this is where we hear a bit more of a groovy sound to Aborted's violent riffage. It isn't without blast beats or aggressive, thrashing segments, but it still manages to be maniacally brutal without relying solely on plating as fast as possible. Sven Decaluwe's vocals are also shown as being more diverse here, as he releases deep, guttural growls, as well as harsh, extremely aggressive screams. This still remains my favourite track on the album.
The aforementioned production quality works very well in the bands favour here, making for a much more raw & abysmal sound than Aborted's later works. The bass is a little low in the mix, which is probably my only complaint, however there are many times it can be heard perfectly through the mess of distorted guitars and drums. Aside from the bass, everything seems to be mixed very well considering the obviously cheap quality of the album. After listening to the album many times, I still find myself noticing something new in the mix every time, as the instrumental work is not only extremely brutal, but is also very subtle in its cleverness - a sort of cleverness that might go unnoticed if you're just browsing through the internet, looking for some over the top, bottom heavy, tough guy deathcore to flail your arms to.
Overall, the album is an underappreciated gem, and in my opinion should be looked at in the same light as other classic 90's goresoaked death metal, like Cannibal Corpse's Butchered At Birth. The production is raw, and the guitarwork is ferocious and evil. The bass could be turned up just a little, but the lack thereof isn't too much of a hindrance in terms of the bands overall sound, and the drums are just phenomenal. The vocals are also a highlight here as they showcase Sven at his most diverse, and truly his most brutal.
Best songs: The Lament Configuration, Organic Puzzle, Wretched Carnal Ornaments.
For a debut album, this is surprisingly good. The simple fact of being a debut has a tendency to lower my expectations, but these songs generally hold up pretty well. Purity also proves wrong some of my initial assumptions about the band's progression. The actual enjoyment of the music itself is derived from the faster portions which, thankfully, are frequent.
Starting with some fringe elements, the cover is awful. A fake-looking woman splattered is cheesy in a bad way although Aborted never really seemed to stumble upon awesome covers, and this isn't their worst. Like a fossil in the desert, their aforementioned musical development is shown to be much different than I had envisioned prior. With Goremageddon and it's melodic leads as my initial exposure to Aborted, my imagined starting point for this band was closer to that of Impaled. This is most certainly not like Impaled, and it isn't even much like Carcass. No, Aborted here is much closer to brutal death metal bands such as Skinless, albeit with a less crushing sound. There isn't anything innately wrong with this, but it was unexpected to say the least. Lastly, the intros are longer and more frequent than would be ideal. This is already barely half an hour, but a full five or so minutes is composed of filler that isn't all that interesting.
Production on Purity is not as good as it should be. Debuts frequently have this problem, and it's not that bad, but the music would have been better served with slightly clearer production. The most obvious instances are when the songs open up with a fast riff, and they are cloudy to start with. Particularly compared to their most recent album, Sven is a much, much smaller piece of the sound. Guitars are definitely up-front with everything else trailing. Mileage will vary on all this, though I do believe that Sven's place in the mix is a plus of the album.
Many point to Sven's vocals as maybe the strongest aspect of the band, but I'm not sure about that. His voice alternates between a deep growl that almost sounds like he's coughing and some sharp screeches that bring to mind a harsher Doty. Occasionally, some Walker-esque, puking vocals are thrown in though they're not sustained for as long as was heard on Reek or Symphonies. Sven convey's their message well, but this talk of him as a really great vocalist is excessive. The lyrics present are somewhat simpler than would be read later on. Act of Supremacy, the first real track, is closer to what Barnes wrote for Cannibal Corpse than it is to what Walker penned on the early Carcass albums. The usual Hellraiser nod is to be found on the very next song, The Lament Configuration. Lament also contains the line “reek of putrefaction,” and is the most overt of several Carcass references.
Purity is largely fast, again where the quality is at, but parts of the songs do slow down and often with a breakdown. These breakdowns aren't too frequent, but they occur often enough to bring the music down somewhat. Other than these mild annoyances, the guitar playing is very satisfying. Regardless of pace, Niek and Herre enjoy tossing in random squeals, and their tremolo riffs are nearly always good. The riffing on display is pretty atonal, but their dissonance is delicious. Atonality as the rule is very different from many other Aborted albums, yet this is the style that they started with. Neither of these guys were there by the third album, so the change can be understood, but it's interesting nonetheless.
This is a solid, though surprising, start to Belgium's finest. Many aspects have carried through, such as the breakdowns and Hellraiser homages, while others have been supplanted, their playing is less atonal. The Purity of Perversion hasn't been reviewed yet, which is a little odd. This is a fair release from a band that is pretty well-known and liked. A slightly clearer sound, a couple more good songs, and fewer breakdowns are all this album would need to be a very good release. A bigger fan of breakdowns might even feel that this is already very good. Any Aborted fan should have this, and a death metal fan should at least hear it.