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Aborted > Vault of Horrors > Reviews
Aborted - Vault of Horrors

Sven - The band - 70%

Auselesspileofflesh, April 15th, 2024
Written based on this version: 2024, CD, Nuclear Blast (Limited edition, Digipak)

As creatures of habit, it is often easy to feel content with repetition and familiarity. We know what to expect and can find solace in homogeneity. This often applies to the music we listen to, something that follows a distinct style or sound that can make one feel gratification. Originality and personality can be and usually will be sacrificed for an indifferent but pleasing sound to feed this appetite.

Belgium's Aborted have always been a band that were "style over substance" as in whilst offering nothing new to the death metal spectrum, do add a direct-on-target sound that utilizes the influences from Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse & Carcass that quenches that grim death metal thirst. I very much doubt Sven ever set out to redirect or reinterpret the genre but to just play brutal and intransigent music which has been accomplished album after album.

"Vault of Horrors" is an album comprised of drummer driven death metal, it is as fast paced and as frantic as any other current death metal sound. I am in no shape or form calling Aborted generic, but the riffs presented here are formulaic, lots of tritone power chords & tremolo littered with syncopated chugging that draws a good amount of influence from the current deathcore sound sprinkled in with technical showmanship and the typical melodies used in most extreme metal. Not riff devoid by any means, however it is very paint-by-numbers in terms of songwriting and with the clean and very modern production does not help with differentiation from other similar acts. This is not a critique but more so an observation of the current extreme music scene what with bands using the same instrument brands, tunings and amp pre-sets, it all has a great sound however leaves a lot more to be desired in originality or ingenuity.

One of the main selling points for this release was that all 10 tracks (not including the bonus song) feature a well-known guest vocalist. I have always found that the most unique feature of Aborted's music was frontman Sven's vocals. He, alongside other belching greats Frank Mullens and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, have very distinct styles & sounds. I have heard songs he has guested on without knowing and was able to pick that it is him which should display my reverence for his voice. Kicking the thesaurus aside and just stating it - he's an awesome vocalist. Everyone else is great too. However, hearken back to my point on the production and writing, these songs could have been written by the guests bands themselves. Eric from Despised Icon does his vocals over a slam riff and isn't too different sounding from his own band, same with Oliver from Archspire, his section could be either Aborted or Archspire and this echoes for a good portion of the guest spots here (Fleshgod & Cryptopsy are exceptions to the rule). Despite this, it is understandable that the album would have these features as all these bands are touring brothers, and it would help bring in new fans.

In short, this album is a solid slab of death metal; did you really come in expecting more than that? Songs like “The Shape of Hate”, “Death Cult” & the grindy “Insect Politics” still batter your ear drums effortlessly. Solid but not stellar, safe but not stagnant.

Aborted - Vault of Horrors - 90%

Orbitball, April 4th, 2024
Written based on this version: 2024, Digital, Nuclear Blast

I thought that this is an outstanding release! It slays from the start to finish! I considered what I thought of the album and that's all that mattered to me! I thought it definitely better than their previous release. I like how they switch off from burly vocals to screaming vocals. They aren't anything but boring! And plain or obligatory. These guys put together one quite an album. I like how they come easily into the segue of the onslaught! I don't see how they can explore such a great death/grind that they all they seem to do. There's no nonsense with this band they are straight up abominating. The double bass drums fire off like cannons and the lead guitar simply rips.

I thought that this was a bold annihilation on your eardrums. This release is definitely tops in my book especially one of the tops of the March they greeted us with! What a monument of an album that's quite an abomination to the ears! They simply slay!

I think that it's gotten enough spins here to hear how intricate this release is! The music steels the listener and the vocals back and forth keeps you from guessing what's to come up next! The drums seem triggered and super highlight to the release as well!

I feel that this is better than "Manicult" and I think they totally took their death/grind to another level of intensity. They're tops with me and I think that this album is better than their previous release of whom I thought a treasure as well! "Maniacult" I didn't think that it was as good as this one. It's the production quality, the vocals, the music and the mixing that make this into a gem into a release. It's my one of the top releases from this year so far. I think this will hold true for the remainder of the year! I like the guitars I think that they were tops with me. The guitar alongside the drums is what sealed this into itself a "Maniacult", only this one is "Vault of Horrors."

These guys know how to belt out quite a release and with no compromise! The death/grind is simply there the whole way through! The music is the ultimate highlight of the album. I think this is how they were able to make this into an utmost vile and dismay reeking from Belgium! You can hear it in the vocals that they shred simply with precision! The death/grind is altogether there and they don't seem to let up any less than their past recordings!

Check it out yourself and make a opinion of your own into what you thought, consider what you think!

My Birthday's Bad Album Extravaganza Part III: Background deathcore - 40%

Feast for the Damned, April 2nd, 2024

I’m in a weird spot right now. The original album that was supposed to take Aborted’s not-so-prestigious place started growing on me more and more to the point where I don’t even consider it bad anymore. With my plans completely derailed, I ventured into the depths of my mind (and library) to try to think of a record bad enough to join my little motley crew. After significant time spent on looking for potential victims, it finally came to me! A band that even in their prime was mediocre at best and only managed to get worse over the years! A band that has continuously managed to surprise me with the sheer amount of boredom they put on each disk! Yes, Aborted, just what I needed.

The band’s evolution is a weird one to say the least. From the debut record’s hardcore infused brutal death metal, through their more streamlined and generic escapades of Goremageddon, to what has recently become of the band, one thing has been constant: They just don’t stand out at all. I gave their stuff numerous tries, hell, I routinely check out their new releases (as you can tell by me writing this), but they just do NOT make interesting music. “So why choose this?” one could ask. That’s a fair question as I feel about the same way about their last eight or so albums, but this record comes to what I perceive as their evolutionary conclusion. Vault of Horrors follows the pattern the previous two albums set, and wanders deeper into the deathcore territory, abandoning any truly death metal aspects of their sound.

If anything, they now sound like every generic deathcore band while trying to imitate melodies reminiscent of other bands in the “popular extreme metal” scene like Cattle Decapitation. This results in guitars having the buzzsaw-like tone - often associated with tech death bands – fired at the listener at incredibly high BPMs, vocals screaming, squealing, and pretty much finding every conceivable way to sound as in-your-face as possible. Doesn’t sound like a bad time, does it? Well on paper it doesn’t, but then when you start listening you realize the vocals are cookie-cutter deathcore gutturals delivered by either Sven, or one of the 10 (!!!) guest vocalists. Funnily enough, I don’t think the inclusion of them serves any other purpose than to artificially inflate the credits. Sure, no one who knows more than a handful of bands listens to Aborted (at least that’s my theory), so maybe this is a good way to get new fans on board, but they do not add anything interesting to the sound. High pitched, borderline shrieking, and the rapid-fire spitting sections then obviously get broken up by breakdowns because why the fuck not. It’s the one part, the one element in extreme metal that I just can’t stand. Sure, it’ll get the crowd going live but when it’s a studio album we are talking about, it has the exact opposite effect on me. And I’m going to take my grumpy old man personality a step further, and say that the only way to make this resonate with the mainstream even more is to add clean vocals. Well, maybe next album, right?

Frankly, I think this all sounds excruciatingly stupid and makes the otherwise genuinely enjoyable sections feel scarce. But let’s take a look at those little tidbits that are cool on this mess of a record. The aforementioned melodic leads and solos that show up between every other bro-dude chugging marathon and overpowering wall of double bass drum sound, I enjoy very much. They add a nice little variety to the otherwise one-dimensional songs, and for that, I’m thankful. Example of this would be the solo on Hellbound and Dreadbringer, both of which are honestly the highlights of their respective tracks. Uhh what else is there to like?... Well, the production is deserving of praise from a purely objective standpoint with how clean it is. Even if I personally hate when my extreme metal is overproduced to fit the Nuclear Blast roaster, I can see some people liking it.

And that about wraps up all the positive things you can say about this project. Sure, I dig the dive-bombing high notes on The Golgothan, and as a whole, Vault of Horrors isn’t as offensively bad as the other 3 victims on my imaginary hitlist. Yet, there is literally nothing of value here for people looking for something memorable. It’s the perfect example of records that you don’t mind being on, reaching instantly for the eject button on your stereo, but if you had the choice, you wouldn’t ask for it. I, as a fierce deathcore hater, didn’t get an aneurism when I listened to it as background music. But if that’s the best thing I can say about a record, then I don’t see a reason to ever listen to it again.

The highlights of the album are Hellhound, Dreadbringer, and The Golgothan.