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Album Review: Aborted Stay Scary with TerrorVision

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Time for another Aborted record already? It feels like only yesterday I was terrifying people with the beast that was Retrogore. But alas, the age of Retrogore has come to an end to make way for the newest, absurdly heavy addition to the Aborted music catalog, TerrorVision. This will be Aborted’s tenth full-length album after releasing the Bathos EP only  year ago. So what’s the word this time around? Have Aborted managed to best themselves after writing one of my favorite death metal albums in recent memory?

In short, no. But make no mistake, TerrorVision might not be as good as Retrogore, but the bar was set so damn high that it would be nearly impossible to best it.

The most noticeable thing about TerrorVision right off the bat is that Aborted have chosen to shake things up a little bit in the riff department by throwing in more melodies and a few slower parts. This album is a much easier listen than normal (by Aborted standards), and it gives you a little bit of room to breathe during the tracks, whereas Retrogore was content just to pummel your face into the ground until all that was left was a bloodstain.

Although every single track on TerrorVision is more than capable of holding up on it’s own, the biggest issue I found was that even if each song has a bit more variety than normal, they still don’t gel super well with each other and they aren’t especially memorable. I could name something memorable about basically every track on Retrogore, and I can’t say the same this time around. With each additional listen, I’ve found myself skipping roughly half the tracks after I hear a riff or two that I like. HOWEVER, the tracks that I don’t skip are monstrous.

If you’ve ever listened to this band before, then you’re familiar with their brand of insane riffage and heaviness. The title track brings all of the to the table through the tremolo picking, the breakdown and the solo are all what you would expect from Aborted. “Vespertine Decay” is absolutely menacing, with an ambient guitar overlay and even more scorching tremolo riffs. “Squalor Opera” and “Deep Red” are great tracks as well. But the crown jewel of this album is “A Whore D’ouerve Macabre.” This track blends the best elements of what TerrorVision has to offer with the signature chaos of Aborted’s brand of death metal. It even throws a few old-school death metal tones in to top it off. By the end of “Whore D’ouerve,” you’ll be wondering how in the hell this band plays their instruments the way they do, as well as what that weird, sticky fluid dripping onto your shoulders is (I’ll give you a hint: it’s your brains dripping out of your ears).

Ultimately, TerrorVision is a very good album, but I’d stop short of calling it a great one. Although TerrorVision has monstrous peaks of heaviness, it also has a few underwhelming chasms. I wouldn’t call TerrorVision a step back from Retrogore, but, rather, a step to the side. And there’s nothing wrong with that. My main criticism of Retrogore was that it never turned down the intensity, and that has clearly been addressed hear. I don’t think Sven de Caluwé and crew have quite found the right balance just yet, but they’ve still written an album that will please their existing fans while being accessible enough to bring in new ones.

Aborted’s TerrorVision drops September 21 on Century Media. You can check out the track “Squalor Opera” here and pre-order the album here.

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