Originally written by Erik Thomas
My only real exposure to Italy’s long-running industrial black metal act Aborym was 2006’s excellent Generator. And with the core of founder Malfeitor Fabban and Faust (Emperor) returning on drums, aided by a plethora of guests (most notably Karyn Crisis), Aborym makes their long-awaited return worthwhile.
Still plying a stern form of programming-heavy, industrio-symphonic modern black metal, Aborym imbues charred barren wastelands and post-apocalyptic chaos rather than techo-infused dance metal. Animatronic this is not. On par with Havoc Unit as far as tetanus-inducing rust cuts and twisted cyber elements, Psychogrotesque isn’t nearly as clean as Generator. It has a little more bite and paranoid grime, like delirious cannibal mutants in the post-nuclear wasteland rather than patrols of robotic killing machines.
The album’s nameless numbered tracks are typically balanced between brittle electronic-filled blasts and lots of appropriately rendered industrial segues and interludes — the opening duo of intro “I” and blistering stimulus overload “II” set the mood perfectly for the rest of the album. “III” has a twisted, staggering lurch backed by undulating beats and jarring programming, but at this point, the album derails a little with “IV”. Being nearly 5 minutes long and simply full 0f Italian spoken words and clanging, rattling, beeping and whirring, “IV” is everything that grates on me about industrial metal when it’s done wrong. Then “V” slows things down to a predictable cyber chug with some clean croons and a saxophone — I appreciate experimentation and unpredictability, especially within this genre, but it’s a little much. “VI” initially sets things right with a searing industrial blast and more sax — that’s what I enjoy about the genre. The croons briefly return, unfortunately, but it’s rectified with a haunting female vocal that transitions to “VII”, another impressive chaotic cyber vortex. But after a solid duo of songs, some techno beats do in fact surface on “VIII” and more talking and programming for “”IX” before the sprawling nearly nine-minute “X” closes the album out in fitting, world-ending fashion. (There is a hidden “XI” track which is just atmospherics.)
In all, the aptly named Psychogrotesque isn’t quite as epic or gripping as Generator, and many fans will expect more after such a long layoff, but in the hierarchy of the genre, it shows that Malfeitor and whomever he collaborates with aren’t willing to stand pat — they continue to evolve and mutate.