Aborted - Global Flatline

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012

Aborted vocalist and sole original member, Sven de Caluwe, is the first to admit the band phoned in a record or two during a mid-career dead-end phase that saw them leaning more towards breakdown-fueled Metalcore than the ferocious Gore-Grind unit they began as. Given that agreeable statement, a revamped lineup, and their flawless return to de-form in 2010 (the Coronary Reconstruction EP), it’s safe to say that Global Flatline is undoubtedly the most anticipated release of the Belgian Death squad’s 14-year career. A preliminary scan of the tracklist reveals nearly all of the 2010 EP has been re-recorded for the album, as well as “Nailed Through Her Cunt” from, arguably the band’s finest hour, 2001’s Engineering the Dead (the Palestinian version also contains another re-recorded cut from that LP as a bonus track, but I was not fortunate enough to track that one down). So discounting the intro (“Omega Mortis”) and glorified 6-minute outro (“Endstille”), we’re only getting 8 new songs here. No big deal as long as it kicks ass, right? But does the album live up to expectations? Yes and no. First and foremost, it doesn’t have the same level of addictive filth and blood-curdling grime as the EP did, which the re-recordings certainly prove. It could just be the album’s immaculate production. Perhaps crystalline to the point of sterilization? Just a theory. I guess I’d also be complaining if it sounded like it was recorded via answering machine. Still, it’s difficult to identify what else could be the problem. It’s definitely not the band’s playing, which is tighter than Natalie Portman’s wormhole. However, weeks of repeated listening have failed to expose a standout track or a defining moment. There’s assloads of guest vocal appearances including Trevor Strnad (Black Dahlia Murder), Keijo Niinima (Rotten Sound), Jason Netherton (Misery Index), and Julien Truchan (Benighted), but the album’s such a surgically precise blur of no-frills Death/Grind that it’s hard to pinpoint who is where and when. Sven’s wide vocal range (gargling embalming fluid to throaty scream) makes it even tougher. This is by no means a bad record -the band’s revitalized sense of purpose and passion is evident in every chug and blast- but that lack of standout material and an absence of dynamics within the crush/kill/destroy framework does make it seem as though regress has been halted. Or maybe I’m just pissed that there’s no Left Hand Path covers…

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