The last time we spoke, I was salivating at the prospect of Retrogore, thanks to the excruciatingly exquisite Termination Redux EP. Truth is, I already had it in hand at that time – I just hadn’t listened to it yet. Why am I telling you this? I don’t know – I just thought it was…interesting? There was a 2-3 month space between the release and review, so it’s about as surprising as the fact that it’s taken me about another 2 months to put pen to paper on the full-length. Make no mistake – I was looking forward to it, and genuinely enjoying it but I’m also easily distracted. In fact…hey look, it’s that obscure 80s hair band I haven’t heard in forever. Better check that out…
See what I mean?
So my premise from the EP review was “…more like Global Flatline than The Necrotic Manifesto.” The former was a truly menacing affair (and quite the high-pressure reviewing experience). The latter was just…meh. Thankfully, just when I thought the responsibility was going to fall back on me, someone else took the figurative bullet and summed it up perfectly. I also said that it left me wanting more, and that Retrogore would have “plenty to look forward to.” So I figured it would only be fitting to follow that up to see if I was right. Fortunately for me, I was.
At first I thought the title might mean some type of stylistic change, or re-recordings of old material, or even a covers album of bands so obscure that even Zealotry hadn’t heard of them. None of these turned out to be true. Not exactly, anyway. As strange as it sounds, Retrogore is the sound of a band refined, almost a “less is more” approach, much like how modern horror movies rely on ever increasing amounts of blood and gore versus their predecessors that relied on relatively simple effects, psychology, and cinematography. Where once the band left bodies shredded and mangled, they now leave them cleanly cut and sliced, and ever more fit for human consumption.
The goofy little old-timey recording that opens things up obviously goes against the musical grain here, and puts you right into a state of unease, like you know something bad is about to happen, but you don’t know what or when. Then the ominous notes hit and dump us right into the title track. At first, it sounds and feels pretty much like true-to-form Aborted: the tones, the riffing style, the solos, etc. Soon, though, you start to notice things are just a bit different. The band that used to take great delight in doling out its aural punishment in a manner almost haphazardly reckless is now doing it with thoughtful precision. The end result is the same (for them), but rather than feeling physically and psychologically broken, you find yourself feeling disturbingly comfortable. You’re not begging for mercy this time – you’re begging for another round.
The track listing is as polysyllabic as ever, though. I’m pretty sure I know what “Forged for Decrpitude” implies, but I’m gonna have to Google “The Mephitic Conundrum”. Also, “Whoremageddon” isn’t even a word, you Belgian bastards. It sounds like a porno parody. Hmm, maybe I should Google that, too. And I just loved the dialogue from House M.D. used near the end of “Coven of Ignorance”.
There I go again. My mind wanders when I feel good. So goes the listening of Retrogore. Check it out for yourself. Results may vary. I have issues.