Review: AbortedVault of Horrors


The doctor said my mom should’ve had an Aborted!

You ever feel completely out of your depth being a metal fan? Like one of those dreams where you are late for an exam, except you didn’t study or attend class all semester, you can’t find the classroom, and you also forgot to wear pants somehow? I swear it must be some kind of latent PTSD that stems from how much pressure my parents put on me to do well in school, but that’s kinda how I feel around seasoned metalheads sometimes. They seem to have the entire history of metal music packed into their brains, and I feel entirely unequipped for the questions they might ask.

One of the first times I went to Maryland Deathfest a guy asked me and my friend what our favorite Iron Maiden record was. My friend immediately replied “Powerslave“, and I was too embarrassed to admit I’d never listened to Iron Maiden. I’d only ever heard the track “Number of the Beast” via Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4. The guy looked at me and I just parroted Powerslave, praying to Satan (the only holy power you are allowed to appeal to at MDF) that this guy wouldn’t follow up with, “What’s your favorite song on that record?”

I was certain if my lack of knowledge were exposed, I’d be forcibly removed from the venue and banned from ever attending the festival again. Thankfully the guy just agreed that Powerslave was indeed the best Iron Maiden record and the conversation moved on. Crisis averted! Determined to never be placed in that position again, I decided to do my homework! “What is the best Iron Maiden record?” I asked myself. Upon listening, I discovered the unsettling truth. Fuck man, I don’t even like Iron Maiden…

But hey, lesson learned. When you don’t know something, just say “I don’t know.” It’s honest, and when people are enthusiastic about a topic, they usually just take it as an opportunity to educate you. Unless you don’t know about cars. Then mechanics just use that against you to charge you more money. Is it too late to argue for more regulation within that industry? Probably have to save that for another article… For today, I reveal another unsettling truth about myself, I don’t know jack shit about Aborted!

In fairness, I don’t think you need to know anything about Aborted to enjoy Vault of Horrors. It’s their latest release, and I only picked up this review because I’d listened to their last one Maniacult a few times when I was baked. I enjoyed their music then, and I’m enjoying it now. I realize there’s over 25 years of history to this band, but I’m completely unequipped to compare this work to that of anything before 2021. I’d actually argue that kind of comparison isn’t healthy sometimes. Like a great movie sequel that gets overshadowed by its predecessor. I know in my heart  Ghostbusters II is fantastic, but if I listened to all the shitheads online I’d have missed out on hundreds of inside jokes, quotes, and references. “Hairless pets. Weird.”

So what’s the verdict? Is Vault of Horrors up to snuff? I sure think so. In fact my only real criticisms fall strictly into the pet peeve category. It’s a little overproduced for my tastes. And when you start arguing the point, “it sounds a little too good,” you should probably just shut the fuck up. The album kicks off with the track “Dreadbringer,” and immediately unleashes some absolutely dizzying speed. The drums lay down massive blasts over evil guitar work. The vocals shriek and growl enough to haunt your dreams. It’s actually a little overwhelming at first because there’s so much happening. It’s pretty technical, but nothing that weighs down the flow of the record. There’s quite a few songs that break the 4-minute mark, but the structure of the songs always keeps things fresh to the point where I never really noticed. Typically I just wouldn’t have the patience, but with these songs I just found myself getting fatigued from too much of a good thing. I couldn’t take it all in because it’s a lot to take in. To say it another way, it’s worth listening to multiple times so you can fully digest it all.

I wish I could just drop a player into this post so you could hear the whole thing. In places it reminds me of Despised Icon (the track “Death Cult” features vocals from Alex Erian btw), but don’t let that dissuade you if you aren’t a fan of that band. I wouldn’t call this a deathcore album by any stretch of the imagination. Anything approaching a “breakdown” here is well earned and never overstays its welcome. It’s pure knuckle dragger music in all the right ways.

Keep an eye out March 15, 2024 when Vault of Horrors drops via Nuclear Blast Records. A week later, hit the movie theater to catch the latest Ghostbusters sequel. I don’t know if it’ll be as good as this album, but I have high hopes! Let’s talk about both down below in the comments and we can all argue over the best Janosz quotes. “Command me, lord!”

4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp here!

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