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  • Reviewed by Faye Coulman

REVIEWED: Aborted - 'ManiaCult'


It’s hard to believe it’s been a full three years since Aborted spectacularly decimated eardrums with the brutalising, ingeniously orchestrated epic that was 2018’s ‘TerrorVision’ - a record whose every churning, densely visceral groove and razor-keen lashing of reverb audibly crackles with the highest calibre of hatred and contempt for a world enslaved by its own blindly unquestioning stupidity. With the devastating arrival of COVID-19 throwing a fresh raft of sci-fi horror-worthy atrocities into the mix in the years that followed, it was clear from the get-go that the anticipated follow-up to this apocalyptic smash would be one richly nourished by these nightmarish yet undeniably inspiring real-world horrors. Factor in Aborted’s insatiable appetite for the unrelenting progression of their notoriously pulverising craft, and ‘ManiaCult’ is every bit the lacerating tour de force you’d expect of these visionary aggressors.


From explosive episodes of flesh-scalding acceleration to unfathomably dense layerings of synapse-scorching riffage, every brutalising yarn in this tautly executed tapestry of extremity is geared to obliterating effect. With its sound barrier-shattering extremes of battering warp speed and blistering guitar leads that whirl and accelerate with airy, near-balletic grace, the technical prowess being displayed here in spades is nothing short of astounding. Note, in particular, the frantically accelerating staccato blasts that ricochet like frenzied machine gunfire atop the seething mass of bristling guitar accents that abound in the thunderous throes of ‘Portal to Vacuity’. Or the sleekly elongated lines of fretwork that display impeccably sculpted clarity above ‘Ceremonial Ineptitude’s’ immense, monolithic backbone of delectably abrasive groove.


With respect to the darker and more atmospheric facets of the extreme metal spectrum, this is an album that also contains more than its share of eerily absorbing standouts. Revelling in sumptuous layers of echoing ambient noise, intensely cinematic opener ‘Vanderf’ takes ample time to weave its blackly immersive magic on the listener, its weightily churning contortions dripping with apocalyptic menace. From here, the densely muscular contortions of monstrous title track ‘ManiaCult’ leave us dizzy with adrenaline before a momentary lull in proceedings ushers in a doom-laden wealth of entrancing atmospheres and humongous, elegantly unravelling riffage. Belching forth a propulsive slew of ragged, vocal cord-liquefying screams and guttural contortions that rumble like all the legions of Hell rising from the abyss, frontman Sven de Caluwé furnishes these unearthly hymns of hate with all the towering, intensely sinister charisma you’d expect of him.


Although Aborted’s sound has long been synonymous with unparalleled, synapse-scorching extremes of brutality, 11th long-player ‘ManiaCult’ cements an unprecedented new standard in skull-shattering sonic extremity. Together with a keen, compositional instinct for intricate fretwork and intensely sinister atmospherics that palpably reek of grisly bloodshed and mutilation, this electrifying unit have once again birthed a thing of immense, blackly compelling horror.


8.5/10


'ManiaCult' is out now via Century Media