Years since I first broke my death metal cherry, the impressive stylistic breadth and evolution of this once purely primitive form of extreme art continues to astound me. Of course the popularity of death metal has inevitably lead to over-saturation in the modern market, creating a more arduous task of sifting through the dead weight and avoiding the bands bobbling in a sea of mediocrity. Among an exciting breed of young talent and up and comers, long running acts such as Immolation and Suffocation continue releasing top-notch material, keeping the younger folk on their toes and creating a healthy link between past and present. Meanwhile certain bands admirably plug away through lengthy careers, causing modest waves in the deepest corners of the underground without ever really exploding or setting the scene on fire. Case in point being long running Russian act Aborted Fetus, active since way back in 2000 and boasting a hefty sack of demos, splits and LP’s. The dubiously named outfit soundtrack their gory tales with a moderately brutal dose of slammy death, compacted into tight little packages of groovy, blast-ridden assaults.

The Art of Violent Torture marks the fifth album from Aborted Fetus and though I’m familiar with their established name, this is my first extended experience with the band. Opening with the short and surprisingly effective instrumental “The Art of Pain,” Aborted Fetus kick things off in a restrained fashion, providing a brief and deceptive scene setter that segues into “Boiled Alive,” a track that immediately represents the bread and butter of the album. Aborted Fetus stick to their game plan and certainly don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel or re-write the slam rule book. Coming across like a less brutal Devourment and more simplistic Dying Fetus, mixed with a smidgen of the straightforward gut-busting groove and bludgeon of Dawn of Demise, The Art of Violent Torture offers a crude and unsubtle beat-down, aiming to satisfy the most basic and primal of death metal urges for the more brutal and slam inclined.

Generally operating at a lively mid-paced pummel, with the speed rarely cranked beyond moderate levels, Aborted Fetus focus on blunt force trauma and sledgehammer execution to ram their point home. While the songs are all listenable and solidly crafted, they tend to bleed into one another, with variety and slick dynamics not the band’s strong point. The simple-minded attack and lack of deviations breeds monotony into the album, particularly when the musicianship and overall songwriting aren’t exactly high on wow factor. So while songs like the crushing “Blinded by Flame” and groovy bludgeon of “Burning at Stake” are solid workouts, inspiring some moderately pleasing slow motion headbanging, it’s hardly sufficient enough to warrant many return visits when more interesting options are readily available. The grooves are chunky, vocals appropriately filthy and guttural, and some of the riffs and slamming grooves are catchy in the short term, however the album doesn’t offer anything particularly exciting or noteworthy to recall once the bulldozing affair subsides.

When Aborted Fetus break the shackles of their predictable formula, shit gets a little more interesting and less formulaic. “Buried Alive” displays some nice melodic guitar work and stronger dynamics, weaving softer passages around thick, juicy grooves and solid riffs, while “Hanged and Quartered” features doomy elements amidst its brutally down-tuned force. With its more adventurous tempo variations and increased energy, “Breaking Wheel” is another stand-out tune that lends the album a welcome adrenaline boost. Musically, Aborted Fetus are solid but unspectacular, with no element truly standing out despite uniformly tight and workmanlike performances. And although the production is predictably brickwalled, the clean, burly tones and solid mix syncs well with the band’s style.

The Art of Violent Torture is a derivative, though competent and groovy slam death album from a veteran act content on playing it safe and delivering what long term fans are likely to expect. And that’s all good and well. It’s certainly not a terrible album by any means, nor is it particularly exciting, innovative or engaging enough to appeal far beyond the band’s established fanbase or the most hardcore of slam addicts. What’s left behind is a solid but ultimately disposable album.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music |
Releases Worldwide: April 28th, 2017

  • If the fetus was aborted, how did it make an album?

    Also; 10 bags of gold for anyone who can transcribe the lyrics just from listening to the album!

    • Eli Valcik

      I think it’s like a two negatives make a positive kinda situation. Also you’ll be keeping those bags of gold.

  • Diego Molero

    What a lame band name. Music is pretty meh too.

    • Reese Burns

      I was thinking they might be Dying Fetus’ final form.

      • Zach Ward

        Dying Fetus + Aborted = Aborted Fetus.

      • IBlackened

        Then it becomes a Carcass.

        • Reese Burns

          Someone better perform an Autopsy.

        • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

          Boom. Nicely done.

          • Caio

            Until is consumed by a Cannibal Corpse

  • Thatguy

    This isn’t setting any new artistic standards, but it’s better than most of the crappy power metal that gets 3.0 or 3.5. But 2.5 is about right.

    And the band photo is generic and matches the score.

    • You should spend the weekend interacting with the Astral Doors album. You need to interact.

      • Thatguy

        Thanks, SD. You made me laugh. You pick your barbs well. Astral Doors…I’d rather you rammed a cello up – no wait, been there, declined that.

    • Diego Molero

      Everything is better than power metal. That being said, did you listen to Nocturnes and Requiems by Witherfall? I hate power metal as much as you do, but that album is excellent.

      • Thatguy

        I will search this out.

        • Diego Molero

          Sweet. Let me know what you think.

          • Thatguy

            Virtuoso playing and a singer a lot less annoying than the usual but still not my thing. I didn’t hate it but I doubt I would listen to it again. Thanks for getting me to try it though.

          • Diego Molero

            Well, as with Grayceon, at least you didn’t hate it. Someday you will genuinely like something I recommend. To my defense, both bands were risky, cello and power metal.
            Anyway, you’re welcome :)

          • Thatguy

            It will happen.

    • David Cogswell

      Agreed. My favorite Russian metal band has got to be Dominia. Check them out if you get the chance

  • Name’s Dalton

    Dawn of Demise is awesome.

  • Martin Knap

    Maggot Colony has a new album out…

  • Aesir

    Cookie Monster very angry. Need more fetus cookies.

  • Bearded_Relic

    Great review! I think you’ve summed things up nicely. Didn’t mind the embedded track but then it didn’t leave me eager to hear more either.

  • IndignantN00b

    All midtempo slam in 2017 has been rendered irrelevant by Acranius

    I’m excited for the new Abominable Putridity, but they’ve got their work cut out for them

    This is whatever

  • Blackly Mously