Published Apr 29, 2016Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, but in the case of Belgian death metal band Aborted, they wouldn't mind at all, as long as they get to repeat the 1980s.
"It's the best era for horror films," vocalist Sven de Caluwé tells Exclaim!, about the decade to which they are paying tribute on their new album Retrogore. "Growing up in the '80s was fucking awesome. We had the best cartoons — He-Man, Transformers, ThunderCats, come on! You had metal songs in the themes of movies and cartoons — don't really have that anymore. You had these iconic horror figures, which, again, you don't have so much anymore. I think, for a lot of reasons, that period of time is special to us."
The band reference favourites such as the Nintendo Power Glove, View-Master, Skeletor and Mr. Freeze in Retrogore's artwork, and took inspiration from aforementioned horror films for lyrics, but that's where the retrospection ends.
"The Retrogore thing is really more of a theme and visual concept. The songs themselves are just Aborted, and there are a lot of new elements mixed in there," de Caluwé clarifies. "There's definitely a bunch of old-school stuff, but there's also modern elements; there are things in there that we've never done. A lot of people sort of expected Retrogore to sound like an early '90s death metal record, but that's not the point."
Pushing that musical growth is a diverse cast of musicians, with different players bringing their preferred slices of death metal — be that technical shredding, doomy dirges or atmospheric moods not as prevalent in the band's earlier material — to the forefront, creating a dynamic, devastating effort.
Eschewing the titular hindsight, lyrically the band are touching on current affairs, getting political in a way they really haven't before.
"We've always had this underlying message, which, when you're not a neanderthal, you can figure out pretty easy if you actually read the lyrics. This time around, it's a lot more clear. 'Divine Impediment,' for example, just deals with religious extremism and its consequences. Something else is 'Whoremageddon,' which is dealing with what I call the Kardashian generation, where people seem to not put any real values anymore into actual relationships; everything just seems cheap. It may be me getting old, but that's just how I perceive it."
Retrogore is out now via Century Media.