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Aborted at their worst - 13%

GuardAwakening, November 28th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Century Media Records

I had this CD given to me as a freebie in a merch buy I had done from someone in a Facebook metal group, having heard this album only about once 5 years ago and hating it, I put the wretched thing in my CD player to give it another chance than what my impression of it had done for it that years ago, and well... nothing has changed.

Aborted was a hard band for me to really appreciate for many years. I thought their style of death metal for a long time was too polished for my taste and I only really enjoyed their first albums The Purity of Perversion and Engineering the Dead being that they're dirty and gritty Suffocation-biting brutal death metal records with riffs so meaty that it would turn a vegan away. I didn't really enjoy a majority of Aborted's material after these two records for a good while for some reason, I guess their sound didn't appeal to me. It wasn't until I listened to Goremageddon where I began to really "get" it, that is, and always will be Aborted at their finest. This, however, is Aborted at their fucking worst.

This takes the worst parts of what fans call their metalcore/melodic death metal era (their 2007 album Slaughter & Apparatus: A Methodical Overture is a fine example of this) and combines it with just outright lazy songwriting, boring vocals, and the most thin and lifeless production and mixing I have ever heard for a modern extreme metal album.

Let me just get what I have to say about the production out of the way: this production is the worst that a band like Aborted could possibly do for themselves. Aborted have garnered a collection of producers that they have worked with throughout their career, and arguably Jacob Hansen has the best chemistry with the band, he's gotten the best sound of them on some of their best records. The producer on this album, however, does everything he doesn't and worse. Everything is so boring and lifeless and it just makes you want to shut it off if the lazy growling vocals and goofy guitar solos that sound as if they belong on a hard rock album haven't already made you done so already.

This is easily Aborted's worst effort. Do not even bother checking this out unless you're curious as to hearing the low point of their career. I wouldn't even recommend this record to longtime fans of the band. It is nothing more than sloppily written metalcore/melodeath influenced death metal with a boring production job. If you aren't familiar with the band, do not start here, listen to their albums Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done for fast breakneck brutality or Engineering the Dead for pummeling Suffocation-worship sickness. Aborted is a good band, but this album is simply just not good.

A brilliant release - 95%

eviluus, June 23rd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Century Media Records (Limited edition, Slipcase)

Another album in Aborted discography can safely be called "the masterpiece". It is simply great, without a doubt. Brilliant recording, which is hard to find on the scene. Albums recorded with such passion and flair you want to listen always and everywhere ...

On the "Strychnine.213" Aborted showed us a lot of courage. The courage to do something new. Apparently, there are plenty things in common with their previous works, but at the same time there are many new elements, which were hard to expect. There's a difference between recording once again similar sounding album and taking up the challenge, and entering new, so far unexplored territories. I do not claim Aborted copied themselves on their previous albums, but the fact is - even though the systematic improvement of their style - their albums were more or less predictable. With "Strychnine.213" it is quite different.

The opening intro ("Carrion") announces something new. It is well known that an explosion of brutal sounds will occur in a moment, but in the background echoes something unusual - a melody. It is still brutal, we still have to deal with typical Aborted tracks filled with a lot of technique, but this time the melody, not aggression, is the main point of music - the eye of the storm, which is trying to overwhelm the furious attacks.

You can blame Aborted for getting a bit relented on this album, you can. But your complaint will be groundless, as musically it is still brutal and powerful, though accompanied by a melody. So what? If you don't like it, you can switch to ultra brutal releases from Unmatched Brutality or Bones Brigade. "Strychnine.213" had to sound like that. That album wasn't recorded "by accident", everything in here is carefully planned and recorded with special care and absolute perfection.

You don't write about brilliant albums, you simply listen to them. That's why I will drown in this "sea of pleasure" for the x-th time. I must add - for "Pestiferous Subterfuge" Belgians deserve every musical award. With this track they moved the border of genius into areas unreachable for a common mortal. Well, gentlemen - keep up the great work! I want it more!!!

(This review, written by me, was originally published in Metal Mundus webzine in Polish language - now translated into English).

Depressing - 5%

DomDomMCMG, November 24th, 2011

At the point before hearing this album, I thought Aborted were untouchable. A band that could do no wrong. The 3 albums that preceded this were perfect, as was the EP that followed it. But this shall forever be a black mark on Aborted's legacy for me.

This album feels sloppy, boring and seemingly like no effort went into it. Like the band made this album because they had to and didn't take it seriously. Everything on it sounds rushed or not rushed enough. Svencho sounds tired and like he's not giving it his all in the vocal department. The riffs are lazy death metal chuggers. The drums are perhaps the only thing played decently, but they're still terrible in comparison to other efforts.

If i'm wrong, and Aborted did indeed try on this album, then i'm very disappointed. If they were trying, they were pandering to the new deathcore crowd rather than their old school brutal death-head fans. This record probably has the most breakdowns out of any Aborted record, and sadly, they aren't the varied technical breakdowns of before. These are lazy chugfests that wouldn't be out of place in a Suffokate song.

Really, this is either Aborted not giving a fuck about the album or this Aborted trying to make some money with a bit of commercial appeal. Avoid this unless you consider yourself a fan. Maybe you'll get some enjoyment out of it unlike myself, but I highly doubt it.


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.

I'm afraid I misunderstand? - 95%

landon, January 3rd, 2009

Perhaps I am missing something, but don't entirely understand why Strychnine.213 gets so much shit from the metal community. I love it, as a matter-of-fact, its my second favorite Aborted album to date. Now before the shit starts to fly, my first favorite Aborted album is Goremageddon: The Saw & Carnage Done, a choice which many Aborted fans would agree with. But why do I enjoy Strychnine so much? Because its something new.

I enjoy the senseless brutality and mind-boggling speed of this kind of music just as much as anyone else, but this is Aborted's 6th studio album, and who wants to hear the same recycled formula over and over again? The presence of melody on this album, in my mind, is Aborted's way of staying relevant. Let's not pretend here, brutal death metal is a fairly limited genre. And when you've lasted as long as Aborted has lasted, members changes and all, you're going to run out of ideas eventually. If you don't like the new sound of Aborted, that's your preference, but don't bash them. They're just exploring new territory. If you were in the band, you'd probably not want to play the same chug-chug riffs over and over again, album after album. Hell, they lost a guitar player over that very issue!

The new direction isn't a sign of their sound being dulled down; they still remain extremely brutal. They've simply combined they're brutality with something new. Take "I35" for example. It retains the blistering speed from past albums, but they also added more melodic guitar leads, and it makes the song more interesting, without butchering the flow of it. In my opinion, what Aborted fans SHOULD be saying, instead of "wow, they sure have lost they're touch", is "wow, they've really found a way to be creative!"

To this long-time fan of all things brutal, the sound of Strychnine.213 was a risk that Aborted took after over 10 years of creating some of the most devastatingly brutal music in the death/grind genre, and I think its a risk they should be rewarded for.

Something's missing. - 45%

MikeyC, October 10th, 2008

Strychnine.213 is probably the weakest album of Aborted’s discography. Released less than two years after their last effort, the rushed nature seems to show through. Whether this was the fault of the band themselves or their record company wanting them to release something else quickly is still a mystery. At any rate, this is what has been produced and it’s not as good.

I’ve liked all of their releases to some degree, for different reasons. While this album is still Aborted, it doesn’t give us a reason to come back, and not listen to their other albums. I mean, think of it: The goregrind of The Purity Of Perversion? Gone. The brutality and speed of Goremageddon? Gone. The catchy groove of The Archaic Abattoir? Gone. This is a very substandard concoction of seemingly throwaway riffs and melodic leads (way more melodic than any other release…the beginning of “A Murmur In Decrepit Wits” for example), all wrapped in a production too clean for it’s own good. I have no problem with clean production, but this particular production, with the music itself, seems to have no lasting power. There are barely any riffs or sections of the music that you will want to remember because they are all so…well, I hesitate to use the word “bad”, because they’re not bad at all. “Mediocre” is more like it.

Still, this album can still be enjoyed somewhat. It’s still undoubtedly Aborted, and some fans will be able to see some good in it. “The Chyme Congeries” is not such a bad song, and keeps my interest throughout. Perhaps what makes this song more enjoyable than most of the others on this album is the fact that there are NO melodic leads anywhere. When Aborted go back to just writing brutal songs, I feel it works better for them. I mean, the follow-up, “A Murmur In Decrepit Wits”, is much, much more melodic, and not surprisingly, it’s not as good.

Funny enough, the most brutal song on here has to be the Pantera cover of “Slaughtered”. While I’m not familiar with the original, Aborted’s version sounds very heavy, and all the songs on here should’ve been as intense as that.

The band members are still as competent here as they have been at any other release. I don’t see any reason to bash their playing abilities, because they can all still accomplish their respective roles in the band. I could even go as far as to say they’re getting better as time goes on, but that doesn’t mean they play better riffs, of course.

Weighing up the good and bad points of this album, there are many more bad points than good, and as such, this album will be classed as Aborted’s worst. I can see how it’s good enough for others, but for me, there is just something missing in the music, and it’s much too noticeable. If you’ve never heard Aborted, this is definitely not where you should begin. Here’s hoping they can do a little better on their next album.

It works for me. - 80%

Necropsychotic, September 24th, 2008

Aborted has gone through many a change throughout their careers. They started off as a very brutal five-piece. Then they experimented and went through many trials and tribulations. They eventually started moving over to a more melodic side of death metal. Now fast forward to today. Almost completely gone is the brutal aspect of this Belgian outfit and in comes melody and some hints of technicality. I guess you can call it a melodic technical death metal outfit for the time being.

The guitars on this album do their job. Sure you have the chugs and the breakdowns, but does that really constitute them becoming a deathcore band? Absolutely not. The guitars provide intricate melody and good technical parts where fitting. The riffs put forth on this album are very different from what we're used to from Aborted, but it still works. The guitar solos also never fail to intrigue from this band, as expected. They have moved on from the straightforward one-dimensionality of brutal death metal and decided to create a more relaxed, for lack of a better word, atmosphere and a greater depth to their riffs. It would seem that Aborted's guitarists wanted to push the experimental nature of the band to a completely new level, and succeeded in doing so.

The drummer does a good job in making the album stay interesting. He changes up just in time to keep the listener in suspense and wondering what's next. The drums fills in this album are well done, but my problem is that they are recycled into other songs. I found myself saying, "Hey, didn't I hear that a song or two ago?", quite a few times. Luckily, the drums were not at the forefront of the album, constantly suffocated by the vocals and guitars, so the drums did not pose a big problem for me.

Sven never fails in his vocal duties to this band. He has a pretty good range of vocals on this album, from a gurgling scream, to a high pitched shriek, not unlike a black metal vocalist. He has really gained a good range over the years. His addition to this band is truly priceless, as he is a unique vocalist. Without him, there would never be Aborted. His ability to speed up his vocals and then slow them down is impressive as well.

In conclusion, this record is a good addition to the already great discography of Aborted. They have pushed the bounds of experimentation and put out a good melodic/technical death metal album. Going in a completely different direction than previous albums, they may have alienated some fans on this album because of the lack of brutal overtones. But what those fans fail to realize is that Aborted has matured. They decided to not stick to the same old formula. While it's not their best album, it is a very solid album. I would recommend it to anyone ho is willing to listen to something new, and to Aborted fans who are willing to shed all past judgements of them and prepare for something completely new.

Brutal enough for SINCERE listener! - 90%

zgole, July 25th, 2008

I don’t think that anyone serious about music could say that Aborted once were good band, and nowadays they are just trendy or whatever. But many people “into Death Metal” say that kind of stuff. You know what? You have to be crazy, or totally uninterested, or a true hater to say something stupid like that.

Aborted once presented one of the most brutal bands on the scene. So what? Now they are brutal and interesting, creative, original, exciting band. And that is happening from “Goremageddon...” till today. Last year they released something really wild, that insane “Slaughter...” album, and a year and something after they bring us logical continuation with “Strychnine.213”. And I can tell you; this is one hell of an album.

“Strychnine.213” sounds really, really good – maybe not “brutal” enough, maybe not by-recipe enough, maybe not progressive or whatever enough, but be sure that you will hear some very decent Death Metal, unpretentiously speaking. Just listen.

Haters, you should be realistic about Aborted – it’s not the same band anymore, physically. Singer Sven is original member; other guys are here from year 2005/06/07, so line-up is relatively fresh, like the sound. On the other hand, it’s not the same band musically, so don’t criticize them from a “goredeathgrind-is-only-good-music” point of view. That is very infantile.

Anyway, what we got here is Brutal/Groovy/MeloDeath/Death’n’Roll album; perfect and insane riffing, raging perfectly played drums, and, off course, very aggressive and guttural vocals, with time-to-time screams; but I would say, it’s DEATH METAL, no more or less. Rarely nice created and played. I wouldn’t even bother mentioning one or two best songs, it’s simply good DM madness. Nearly perfect.

Cobbled-Up Carcass - 40%

Shirt_Guy, June 26th, 2008

I’m surprised something like this doesn’t happen more often - a certain band member leaves, and the rest of the band is unable to recapture the essential sound. That’s exactly what happened to Aborted, which basically turns “Strychnine.213” into cobbled-up bits of death metal, melodic death metal and death rock, except none of the pieces flow together, they’re just stuck together like bits of uninspired generic tedium.

Sure it’s an attempt to basically pull Carcass together from their gore/grind, melodic death metal and death rock eras all together on one album, but “Heartwork” has proven to be one of the hardest melodic death metal bands to rip off, meaning anything related to melodic death metal on “Strychnine.213” comes through like the 4th recycling of harmonies from Sweden.

Everything is trodden down in a muddy morass of low-end production, loose drumming, snares comes close to clicks, and Sven de Caluwe’s slurred low growls. His vocals could be a high point, as he has a wonderful deep growl, accented by piercing screams, all he needs to do is pronounce the lyrics (yes, that’s an important skill, even in death metal!)

The end result is like throwing several puzzles together, forcing the pieces together, then giving up and using white school glue.

Originally posted at