A gateway has been unsealed as ABORTED summons their next abhorrent creation titled ManiaCult, and its pandemonic rites demonstrate the continued vitality of these Belgian madmen. A labyrinth of melody and brutality evolves throughout this dynamic exercise in grinding death metal, along with darkened shades from other elemental features, and these various influences converge into arrangements of sinister immensity. Lovecraftian horror is weaved into themes of mental torment, which is exacerbated by institutional control schemes, and this turmoil forms a disastrous recipe that putrefies into the unimaginable. Those abominations manifest through the chaos orchestrated by ABORTED, and ManiaCult tells their tale while leading a descent into otherworldly madness.
A massive aura unfolds on “Verderf,” and its stomping pace confirms imminent devastation with bursts of rapid double bass and riffing speed. The foretold brutality rages forth in a frenzy of constantly shifting formations on the title track, and this initial onslaught aims for overload until breaking for a slow melodic passage that brings out darker elements. The heaviness maintains its presence during this atmospheric expansion, with drum and riff patterns that intersect to form pounding rhythmic chugs, and it soars into evocative soloing before a heavy consummation leads to the full grinding assault of “Impetus Odi.” A crushing addition driven by double bass soon meets the chaotic unraveling of riffs, which is matched by machine gun percussion while traversing other mid-paced complexities, and a soloing exchange appears in the midst of this havoc as it moves toward the ominous realms ahead.
Derangement lurks around the dread of tremolo melodies on “Portal to Vacuity,” and these impressions are further complicated when the ravaging forces emerge. Their frantic notes disperse into a cosmos of industrial ambience, and the melody emerging from this interlude extends its gloom to the punishing beat and anguished vocals beyond. This vehement display revives the hysteria and culminates in a melodic solo, followed by a change in focus to heavy riffage and groove on “Dementophobia.” Eerie tapping creeps through its later developments, and energetic soloing rises before the insanity regains its hold. A rush of notes and tremolo melodies approach from the void of “A Vulgar Quagmire,” and they become fully manifest when blast beats launch. The ambience casts its shadows over these structures until detailed transitions lead to the hammering pull of a groove, and other fretboard intricacies are also embedded in the heaviness that follows a grinding attack. “Verbolgen” provides a brief calm with symphonic elements that build around its haunting piano keys, and its tone forebodes the imposing madness to come.
A crushing storm resumes on “Ceremonial Ineptitude” as sinister forces emanate from rhythmic riffing. This fury escalates ahead of riffs that advance through a series of complex formulations, and their intensity is shredded by a solo before morphing back to malevolence. The vocals on these tracks are as multifarious and fluid as the instrumental factors, possibly due in part to the number of guest contributions appearing throughout, but they possess a notably fiendish rasp during this ending section, and that delivery is echoed in deeper layers once “Drag Me to Hell” begins. The melodies here augment a looming cosmos, along with roaring distortion to carry this tone into upheaval, and the brutality conspires with melodic dread to form a passage of harmonizing effect. The wrath persists on “Grotesque,” and its accented notes strike within a whirl of precision until other melodies leave their desperate mark. Its battering rate changes for a solo and continues toward the initial mourning on “I Prediletti: The Folly of the Gods.” A raving chaos seeks total annihilation and develops with some interesting rhythmic maneuvers, and speed riffing expands the bleakness while other dissonant haunts emerge within a desolate pause. The blasting drives onward to accept an impending fate, and a final solo realizes this end on its way to oblivion.
The concept follows a maniacal protagonist named Wayland Thurston, a character who also appears in Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, and the conjuring of unearthly horrors driven by his mental collapse is depicted on the stunning cover art. “Verderf” introduces the downfall leading up to this destructive ritual, and our current civilization is labeled in the title of “ManiaCult” as issues unfold with “common sense has been depleted” and “a global unrest, psychopathic at best.” Corrupt leadership is personified in a silver tongue whose acts goes unnoticed because “you’re all too busy blaming each other,” and this continues while addressing hatred and ignorance that spreads from institutions like the plague on “Impetus Odi.” It exposes “incompetent mongrels leading a flock of overgrown children,” and “with our infinite ‘wisdom’ we die for empty freedoms” seems directed at a specific subgroup mentality. Humanity is viewed as a “farce” and “cancer” throughout these tracks, and religious reproach is another common thread, with theological structures deemed a “farce to keep the sheep in line” on “Portal to Vacuity.” Biased reassurance is perceived when seeing “truth within lies … lies within truth” as lunacy takes significant control in “the age of stupid.”
Insanity heightens on “Dementophobia” while watching “the world plunge into decay,” and the subject matter delves into literal shit on “A Vulgar Quagmire,” with portrayals like “a dirty glory hole of methane” bringing humor to the horror. This vile display is later revisited on “Grotesque” when “a burrito bowl” conjures other abominations for “the porcelain dominator,” and these appear as offerings amid the “myriad of theories” and “alternative facts” on “Ceremonial Ineptitude.” The ending judgement that “misery we deserve as we swallow with pride” suits those described as “selfish, apathetic, in denial” on “Drag Me to Hell,” and they remain oblivious while paying the price with failure on “I Prediletti: The Folly of the Gods.” The human condition continues “waltzing to the beat of selfish needs” as the inevitable “goal fated by apathy and derision” becomes absolute. These acts and characteristics are personified by Wayland here, but his actual identity is concealed by a mask of dead skin. This symbolic universality makes it clear that he represents everyone, and we are the true monsters responsible for summoning our own demise.
ABORTED has become a source of consistent quality over the last several releases, and ManiaCult continues this trend with songcraft to invoke various forms of psychopathy. Its technical proficiency doesn’t yield a sterile sound, but instead balances with melodic elements and other enhancing ambient nuances to create a visceral atmosphere. Tedium goes extinct in these tortuous arrangements, with disoriented attempts to track all the vocal and instrumental layers quickly proving futile, and their definitively controlling chaos includes darker textures to bring out the horrors within. Themes of social instability combined with the devious nature of religion and politics result in a strife that breeds other monstrosities, which are conveyed in moments of grandeur developing through the melodies and leadwork. ABORTED has forged a challenging and exemplary work of modern death metal with ManiaCult, and its venture into the macabre is an inspired tale that may tread too close to reality.