Featuring former and current members of acts like Act Of God, Orthodox, Ill Omened, Offalmincer, Serpentrance and Lethality, we have the fifth release from these Russian brutal death metallers, which you’ll be able to grab near the end of the month (April 28th to be precise) from Comatose Records. These guys have been going at it since ’00, but didn’t drop a proper debut until ’08s Goresoaked Clinical Accidents. They re-recorded that album in ’12, releasing their previous record Private Judgment Day just a few years later in ’14. Putting all of that behind us, we have what is essentially the band’s fourth new recording and what seems to be a mere half an hour of BDM. Well, you and I both know that it doesn’t exactly take an hour’s time to soak in something as primal and ravenous as the carnivorous onslaught that is BDM and I’m perfectly fine with thirteen mostly short cuts to follow one much lengthier closing moment (Hanged and Quartered) even if three of those thirteen cuts basically make up the intro, interlude and outro.
As we enter the disc, we’re greeted with drums as thick as the gutturals (which are awfully loud in the performance for some reason and feel like they were recorded separately from the recording space in which the band tracked their instruments) as powerful tufts of slam damage erupt from Sergey Doc’s hefty basslines and Hammer’s potent drum blasts. Even though Metal Archives doesn’t consider this a slam album, it definitely features more than a few slam moments and will no doubt appeal to the hordes of slam fans out there. Igor delivers a gelatinous mix of concrete and stomach acid which is nondescript most of the time and we’re all the better for it. While bands like this vary in terms of lyrical matter, (some just prefer to use intestinal instruments and that is fine too) Aborted Fetus feature a vocal approach that brings up all of the horrors and gore of the dark web (a place I’ve never been, in all actuality) sounding like the perfect soundtrack for something along the lines of Audition or Cannibal Holocaust, which is what we want. I think we could also mention Feed, even though you have to be a really sick bastard for that. Indeed, the kind of feeling I get from such a filth-ridden approach mirrors the darkest content that can be found online, along with a touch of slight technicality and even a solo or two. But best of all? It crushes. In all honesty, these guys can write a song about a man sneaking up behind a bear in order to service it, but the bear retracts and tears the man’s face off as it quickly devours his corpse. That’s the kind of atmosphere we have here and it’s the kind of unhinged brutality that you want.
But what’s this? About halfway towards the end of the album, we have “Awaiting” which is an unexpected and entirely unnecessary acoustic (yes, I said acoustic) instrumental. I don’t feel that BDM and slam fans will enjoy this palette cleanser, because they clearly didn’t ask for it and more or less wanted another cut to immediately begin blaring into their ears as soon as possible. The cut is about a minute and thirty-eight seconds too long if you ask me and could have been held off entirely. Worse yet, there’s nothing special about it that even warrants it’s presence. It doesn’t even seem to have an eerie overtone to go with the rest of the album’s horrifically violent content. However, the band does attempt this again when they mix the depressing acoustic style in with the crunchy “Buried Alive” which actually manages to work somehow. It almost creates a sort of doom/slam sound which is not a style that I am familiar with and may not exist beyond this number. I am personally curious as to what some of the hardcore BDM and slam fans will think of this one, as it’s not quite what you might expect and due to the acoustic breaks, it may end up being yet another turn-off that you don’t need. Even so, I can’t fault them for trying something different from the style. I wonder how that one would come off live, since it would even sound remarkably different from anything in the band’s set currently (at least to my knowledge, I am not extremely familiar with their back catalog).
Still, it’s good that we have straightforward brutal slammers in the form of “Impalement” and Breaking Wheel” to front what closes in yet another depressing acoustic. Seriously, what were these gentlemen thinking? I’m all for exploration, but I don’t really understand the vision and furthermore don’t feel that it was properly handled here. On record where Hammer’s drumming is such a massive force, it really is a bit of a letdown for the band to jump into such droll and melancholy territory right in the middle of a good BDM and slam disc – and more than once, to boot. It just doesn’t work as well as it should for me and I don’t think that it will be widely embraced by fans of the genre. I understand that the band have been playing this kind of death metal for several years now and wanted to try their hand at a slightly different approach (which I support wholeheartedly, don’t get me wrong) but it doesn’t feel like this was done as well as it could have been and the acoustic lines merely seem shoveled in to what would have been a much more formidable beast without them. Of the three brutal death albums that I was offered in this set, Aborted Fetus unfortunately put out the weakest. I had originally thought so from the first listen and my thoughts remain unchanged after this second observation. I really expected a bit more from these guys, but it still gets the job done which makes The Art Of Violent Torture a pretty decent album nonetheless. You won’t end up loathing it, but you might end up skipping a few more tracks than usual.
(13 Tracks, 32:00)