Aborted – Vault of Horrors (Nuclear Blast)

Monday, 11th March 2024
Rating: 8/10

Long-time death metal and gore champions, Aborted don’t need much of an introduction anymore. Vault of Horrors is their 12th offering in almost 30 years of existence – the band has certainly paid their dues. Riding a high in more recent years in tapping into their ‘retrogore’ style, in everything from the art to the visceral mix of modern brutality with old school melodic moments, Aborted have done nothing if not continue to raise their flag with a strong sense of consistency and vitriol. Vault of Horrors takes two concepts with it to stand out from their predecessors: the first is that each track is paying tribute to a cult horror classic, and the other is that the band is accompanied by a guest star on EVERY song.

While the monstrous guest line-up is impressive, the songs need to be able to stand out on their own. Of course, that’s an easy piece for Aborted to pull off with their veteran status. The band know exactly how to mold and meld their groove-friendly death metal into caustic levels of aggression while still keeping it relatively memorable. Nothing has changed here, and some of the guests bring an added bit of depth or variety to the fold. “Death Cult” is probably the biggest stand out with its staggering grooves and wall of sound approach to aggression, with Sven trading vocal blows with Alex from Despised Icon in the most intense of ways. The following track, “Hellbound,” with Matt McGachy of Cryptopsy also serves as one of the strongest cuts and is all but a maelstrom of chaos as the two vocalists bring all of the possible goods to the table for the entire track. “The Golgothan” takes things in a more atmospheric yet battering direction similar to some of their more recent albums, offering some eerie melodies while the drums continue to give you a pummeling. Later track “The Shape of Hate” unleashes Archspire’s Oliver Rae Aleron to hit some intense, rapid-fire vocal bits in an otherwise more moody and atmospheric song. Ending the album on a similar note is “Malevolent Haze,” in which urgent blasts and militant riff segments build tension until a massive breakdown (and Ov Sulfur’s Ricky Hoover) chews some punishing scenery before a more melodic and haunting ending.

As always with Aborted, there’s plenty to enjoy with Vault of Horrors. While it’s not foolproof, the impressive guest list does augment Aborted’s approachably caustic sound in some fun ways. For a band of their caliber, this twelfth album shows Aborted as not willing to sacrifice any of their brutality as of yet, still raging on with everything they have, and having a blast doing so.

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