Band: Aborted Fetus
Album: The Art of Violent Torture
Label: Comatose Music
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Release Date: April 28th, 2017
Whether you want to call it slam, brutal death metal, or brutal ultra-slamming super techno death, brutal death metal is one sub-genre that has remained in the underground, and for obvious reasons. For starters, it isn’t exactly the most accessible form of music. From the disgusting artwork and song titles, to the monstrous (and sometimes ridiculous) vocals and harsh instrumental sections, it’s easy to see why some people would find this genre a little more difficult to get into than other forms of metal. But it isn’t all bad. For the experienced death metal fan, brutal death/slam can be quite fun to listen to. Personally, I enjoy more of the old school death metal bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Suffocation and many more. But while those bands still reign today, bands such as Disentomb, Epicardiectomy or Abominable Putridity are beginning to make a name for themselves within the underground scene.
Aborted Fetus are a brutal death metal/slam band from Perm Krai in Russia. Despite several lineup and name changes, the band continues to release some of the most disgusting (in the best way possible) brutal death metal/slam. After releasing several demos and splits, the band released their first EP, “Devoured Fetuses” in 2005, and since then have been consistently putting out new music around every 2 years. Now having released 4 full length records, and about to release their fifth, Aborted Fetus continue to bring pain, suffering and ultimately death to your ears. Since there are thirteen tracks on the new album, rather than give a detailed account of each one, I’ll just be giving an overview of the album, pointing out any and all key moments.
Aborted Fetus give you no time to think on the opening track “The Art of Pain”. We’re plunged straight into the depths of Hell itself with a very doomy opening riff and really powerful drums kicking us in the teeth. The second track “Boiled Alive” draws in any slam fan straight away, with some blistering blast beats from the drummer known only as Hammer (how fitting) and some visceral low growls from vocalist known only as Igor. The production on this album is also top notch, despite the lack of bass sound. Surprisingly enough, this is one brutal death band that likes to use guitar solos, and do so very well, which makes a change from the usual brutal death cliché of no solos.
Third track “Hanged on the Hook by the Rib” pulls the pace back a bit, and opens with thudding rhythms from the drums and guitars which honestly could have come straight out of a Chamber of Malice song. Joined by the disgusting lows from vocalist Igor, I think it’s safe to say we already know what being hung up by your ribs feels like. The next two tracks, “Blinded by the Flame” and “Pouring Molten Lead into a Throat” continue to keep the pace up, with a relentless frenzy of blast beats, machine gun bass drums and buzz saw riffs from guitarist Alexander “Meatgrinder” Andreev. We are then led into a melodic passage on “Awaiting” strangely enough, filled with echoey guitar melodies that seem to switch the mood from violent aggression to self-reflection and mourning. This makes for an interesting move on a brutal death metal album, but honestly I feel that it gives the listener a break from the constant ear pounding, and gives you a chance to sit back and relax for a moment. Yeah, I know, not very death metal of them, but it isn’t for long.
“Burning at Stake” is up next, and we return to the migraine inducing blast beats and guttural vocals. Despite the slam sounding production and drum patterns, some of the riffs on this album are absolutely savage. The main riff on this song takes me back to the old school death usage of tremolo, which rings out really well. The guitar solo in this song is also very strong, adding some melody to the relentlessly savage sound. Despite this, nothing interesting or new happens until the track “Buried Alive”, which also opens up with a slower melodic passage on the guitars. Even though this brings a new element to the album, this song switches twice between the melodic passage and the core brutal sound, which to me feels a little disjunct and out of place when overused.
Now to be honest, at this point in the album, I can find very little to talk about that I haven’t already mentioned. While personally I enjoy slam or brutal death from time to time, I find that thirteen tracks is overkill when it comes to this style of music. Not that there is anything wrong with having a lot of material, but slam can get boring quite fast. This is a solid album, there’s no denying that. But I do think it could have done with being cut down, as a few of the tracks aren’t necessary. I know that when listening to slam, fans aren’t looking for a masterpiece album, but sometimes shorter is better. Slam and brutal death metal leave very little room to manoeuvre stylistically, and as I said, can become quite stale after a while.
The final three tracks before the close “Impalement”, “Breaking Wheel” and “Hanged and Quartered” all continue with the same structure. Blast beats, guttural vocals, tremolo guitar riffs, all staples of brutal death metal, but nothing new. Although I can say that the vocalist Igor reminds me a little of John Gallagher from Dying Fetus at points, which is something not many vocalists can say about themselves. The album then draws to a close with “The Last Away”, another melodic passage that pretty much sounds identical to the previous guitar melodies used on the album.
All in all, how would I describe this album? While there is no denying that it’s balls to the wall heavy, relentless and aggressive, I wouldn’t say that it is worth listening to more than a handful of times. It’s a fun album, especially if you’re into gory slam, but not something that will hold up against brutal death titans like Kraanium, Cryptopsy or Origin. I feel like the slam/brutal death scene has become very diluted, and in doing so, makes it very difficult to create something that really stands out against the other bands. While this is an extremely heavy and fun album, it just isn’t the outstanding brutal death album it could be.
1. The Art of Pain
2. Boiled Alive
3. Hanged on the Hook by the Rib
4. Blinded by the Flame
5. Pouring Molten Lead into a Throat
7. Burning At Stake
8. Axe Decapitation
9. Buried Alive
11. Breaking Wheel
12. Hanged and Quartered
13. The Last Way
Total Playing Time: 32:17