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Aborted > Vault of Horrors > Reviews > Feast for the Damned
Aborted - Vault of Horrors

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.