(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new 20th anniversary EP by Belgium’s Aborted.)
I fucking love Aborted, especially their last two albums. It’s no secret that here at NCS we were foaming at the mouth like a horde of ravenous hyenas and cackling as we ripped apart the carcasses of Global Flatline and The Necrotic Manifesto when they came our way. To my ears, The Necrotic Manifesto, compared to Global Flatline, signified a departure from the sound the band had always been semi-attached to. Until then, every Aborted record had included the more technical, more tempo-dynamic flare reflected on Global Flatline, although I think most would agree that Global Flatline was their sound taken about as far as you were going to get.
The Necrotic Manifesto was even more aggro than any Aborted release before it. It was streamlined, grindier, noisier, faster, and more belligerent, while largely ditching the more dynamic song-writing of previous Aborted albums. And in between those two albums, Aborted had acquired guitarist Mendel bij de Leij, whose solo project we have covered before (along with his and vocalist Sven’s side project, System Divide — which appears to have transformed into the band Oracles).
So where does that leave Termination Redux? When it comes to EPs, I see them as serving one or more of three specific purposes nowadays: You use them to introduce your craft; you use them to tide people over with some goodies before the next big release; or you use them to plant the flag — to sow the seeds of a new direction and sound in a digestible format, or sometimes to make a defiant statement of said new direction and sound.
I do believe that Termination Redux is the third of those types of EPs, signifying an interesting evolution in the band’s music, capped off by the gesture of re-recording the opening song of one of their most praised early records, Engineering the Dead.
This sounds like a statement of future intent — though since it’s a “20th anniversary” release, something else might be going on — but either way, I fucking adore it. Aborted have mixed the grind- and slam-heavy elements of Necrotic Manifesto with the more reckless technicality of their early work. This is especially apparent because of how well the three original songs on the EP fit with the re-recorded version of “The Holocaust Incarate” (or “The Holocaust Re-Incarnate”, as it’s named here), which is to say, you couldn’t even remotely tell they’re from different eras of the band. The new songs actually sound like what you might have expected to hear as a next-album progression from that re-recording of the iconic Aborted classic that caps off this new EP. It also seems intentional that, beyond a lower guitar tuning, “The Holocaust Re-Incarnate” is EXACT to the original, helping reinforce this point even more.
You should all be familiar already with the coked-up, rapid-fire, spider-biting riff fest that is the album’s post-intro opener and title track, since we premiered it last month. But in the event you haven’t yet encountered the song, listening is kind of like the sonic equivalent of being punctured with needles on every inch of your skin in the first half, and then being obliterated with a sledgehammer made from living organs and black magic in the second.
The second song, “Vestal Disfigurement Upon the Sacred Chantry”, is a carnivorous whirlwind of riffs, vomit, and one of the best slams for a midsection I’ve ever heard.
“Bound in Acrimony” is a hardcore song with grindcore dressing on it, with an infectious, bouncy breakdown in the middle used to exceptionally good effect, given the flesh-flaying speed of the rest of the song.
As noted earlier, the EP’s finale, “The Holocaust Re-Incarnate”, is almost 100% loyal to the original version of that song. It’s played straight, but given new life by the band playing it in a lower tuning than the original, by Sven’s vocals having the refinement they now have, and by the modern, titan-sized mix for which Aborted have become known with their last two albums. It serves as a pretty excellent way to end the EP. (I still love the way the protracted slam closes out this song.)
If you especially loved The Necrotic Manifesto you WILL want in on this EP. Definitely the first all-killer, no-filler nuke set to detonate soon after 2016 greets us.
This EP is a celebration of Aborted’s 20th anniversary, and it will be released on January 15, 2016, by Century Media, both in limited-edition 10″ vinyl and as a digital download. It can be pre-ordered HERE.