Is old school death metal a dying metal genre? After seeing this stacked lineup at Seattle‘s El Corazon Funhouse it made me wonder.
When you type in “Death Metal Bands“ in Google, 90% of the bands you see at the top started in the late 80‘s til about the late 90‘s for the most part. Most are active today but aging, some better than others. It appears that the originals that started it all like Obitiuary, Morbid Angel, Deicide or Immolation will be around until they cant do it any longer Some have moved on with their sound, for example Opeth, who have steadily moved gradually in the opposite direction, album after album to more for a hard rock sound. Attrition is picking up and taking the likes of Death, Entombed or Bolt Thrower. Cannibal Corpse whom I would say are the kings of Death Metal are not getting any younger either, most of them are approaching mid 50‘s. Will we see Corpsegrinder in 10 years singing Hammered Smashed Face“? I am not so sure.
Tonight in Seattle, we focus on traditional death metal with Aborted. They are with a stellar lineup tonight package consisting of Ov Sulfur, Angelmaker, Ingested and rising stars Lorna Shore, which all represent the Deathcore genre. So this is an nice changeup as Aborted are just behind Lorna Shore in the lineup tonight.
Aborted have 11 full albums and 6 Ep‘s since their inception back in 1999. They released a new album back in 2021 called Maniacult (Nuclear Blast). They orginate from Belgium but there has been alot of turnover of members over the years, with the mainstay being vocalist Sven “Svencho” de Caluwé. The other band members we see this night are Ken Bedene on drums, Ian Jekelis guitar and Dan Konradsson on guitar. No bassist.
They start off with the title track off from 2016’s Retrogore album called “Retrogore”. Right away I notice Sven’s voice phrasing isn’t quite like the record but this song has a lot of double tracking with a guttural voice and clean voice. So this is something we get the entire set where Sven does this clean voicing at certain parts of the song. His clean voice sounds very hardcore, almost reminiscent of Roger Miret’s voice of Agnostic front.
They move on to “Deep Red” from 2018’s Terrorvision. At this point I start to notice the distinction without the bassist. As much as guitar could be used to fill in for lower frequencies, you certainly miss that thumping chest pounding that a bass would contribute to. It certainly starts to get noticeable with deeper chugging songs later in the set but it’s definitely not a show stopper. The pit is moshing the best it can in the shoulder to shoulder in the somewhat undersized El Corazon.
“Circle pit” Sven shouts, who is a pretty daunting figure as a frontman. He’s a tall lanky dude with a shaved head that likes to get the crowd moving. Never stands in one spot roaming the stage head banging or waving his hand to the beat.
They have a couple of large props on either side of the drummer that appear to be a sliced up human body remains in 6 foot by 2 foot boxes, to add to the ambiance to such songs such as song 5 with “Origins of Disease”. Being that the dimly lit El Corazon is a small club, it does have a pretty decent sound system that pushes the ferocious Aborted guitars and drums rather well.
At Song 6 “Necrotic Manifesto”, Sven declares “Ok take a side, we are doing this a little different than Ingested, when the song starts you go!” and the audience does the wall of death clash. Ingested did theirs on command during the song in case you want to know the difference.
We don’t hear any from the new album until song 7 with “Dementophobia” from Maniacult, which was the only one from the new album. There was some nice solo work in there by Konradsson at the tail end of that one
Last song of the set was sort of a medley of “Threading on the Vermillion Deception “/ “The Saw and the Carnage Done”. It’s quite a heavy chuggy ending that you head bang to, or get in the mosh pit one last time. “I don’t care! Bang your fucking heads!” to end this devastating performance.
I was thinking at the start the Sven’s voice might have been suffering but he kept a good pace the entire 8 song show. Pretty impressed with these guys tonight, and bought my wife a nice T-shirt (the one with the ‘Jason’ like mask) from the great selection of merch they have, which I think was the best of all the bands. I think Aborted did an excellent job of flying the flag of traditional death metal this night. He did mention “See you next year Seattle!” so not sure if they already have plans for 2023. Check out the new album Maniacult (Nuclear Blast) and the rest of the albums too!