- Death metal/Grindcore
I’ve had a tendency to ignore a lot of death metal made since 2007 or so, especially from a lot of veteran bands. I felt the old school sound was far more interesting and the newer sound a little repetitive. Retrogore is starting to convince me otherwise, with a heavy hitting release from 2016 that has strong replay value. I had listened to Terrorvision last year but it didn’t really stick with me, it also had more black metal elements whereas retrogore is pure death.
As the album title and art shows us, this is record is a nod to retro death metal from the era that birthed Aborted, the 90’s. The result is a pleasing blend of modern metal techniques and old school death metal styles. It’s a 40 minute assault that never really has a calm moment, it’s always marching forward crushing skulls beneath their boots. This album is like the White Walkers in Game Of Thrones, it’s a constantly progressing threat that either kills you immediately or simply tires you out. Some may get tired towards the final minutes, there could have been something else at that part of the album, something to break it up a bit or a reprise of some kind. I feel like the creativity had a bit of a limit here, it ends abruptly so you can basically stop listening after any of the tracks whenever you feel like it, you got what you came for. No ones coming to Retrogore for the story, we want gore and we got it by minute 30. Grindcore has always had permission to make shorter LP’s. This is a similar album setup to Cattle Decapitation but they have added a level of melody to their sound now that better warrants the longer format.
Stylistically Retrogore is a buffet of technical wizardry and brutal rhythms. There’s a huge variety of sounds like tremolo picking, shredding solos played over picked chords, precision timed palm mutes, warped galloping bass and a vocal range that explores from generally low to really fucking low to straight up moist. I don’t know how someone keeps their mouths that hydrated while doing this shit. I love the vocals from “Svencho”, they sound loose and guttural, like it’s coming from the same place as he spits and gurgles from. The way the songs flow gives me a greater context for how this album might have influenced Secret Band‘s new release, it shares a lot of the same track qualities such as being consistently interesting by using a variety of beats and techniques to re-frame the aggression. It really feels like they’ve extended their reach to touch on every aspect of old death metal, paying homage to a variety of pioneers such as Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. Aborted are playing the role of competent historians, belting out a tour of classic riffs and breakdowns with the energy of a younger hungrier band.
As technical and masterful Aborted are as musicians, this is essentially a bunch of really talented guys working on a project that has a lot of constraints and use of tropes. It’s not highly creative but it is pretty killer, it’s still achieved something. I’ll have to try out their other albums more to get a feel of what they would typically do as I’m not really learning much about the musicians through this work but I am enjoying all of the instrumental references to some of my favorite albums and styles. The mix is really clear and each instrument has great tone that allowed for individual shining moments throughout the record.
They’ve definitely captured something here and I’d consider this essential listening for any metalheads. Perhaps not as good of an entry point as listening to the old school albums themselves. Particularly the more progressive influences like Death, Carcass and Athiest. The faster grind-core influences are far less.