Neil's Needle Meets Carcass's Bonesaw
CoC Chats with Sven from Aborted
by: Paul Schwarz
Some might well argue that Belgium's Aborted are not a 'cutting edge' death metal band -- except in terms of their lyrical content. Admittedly their gore-obsessed works of splatter fuse typically death/grind influences to almost Swedish-style passages with artful grace, and emulate Carcass better than the likes of Exhumed or Impaled could ever manage; but in the big picture the band have yet to put out a truly era-defining or revolutionary album. That said, not every band need be era-defining -or- revolutionary; and as far as satisfying the appetite for fresh meat of those who share their tastes in metal, Aborted did a damn fine job with last year's _Goremageddon - The Saw and the Carnage Done_. Presented here is an e-mail chat with vocalist Sven, from around the time of its release.

CoC: Aborted are a gore metal band from the perspective that your lyrics seem to focus squarely on gore-related topics. Simultaneously, a fair amount of your sound as a band owes a lot to the likes of Carcass and others who dealt with similar subject matter for their lyrics; but Aborted is clearly not restrictively influenced by so-called gore metal bands: you can hear this from _Goremageddon_ itself. How much does the lyrical subject matter or music of Aborted prefigure its counterpart?

Sven: I'd say that the lyrics are an important part of Aborted, being in a way that they have to be of at least some level and not just your regular 'chop hack stab kill' material. Though we always have kept a certain level of black humour hidden within them -- we're not taking this too seriously, there are songs dealing with your regular poop joke, your regular zombie song, but we also have a lot of songs that are based on the acts and reasonings of serial killers and mass murderers. We also put some small critical messages hidden throughout the album, for the listener to find out. The music and lyrics stand completely apart from each other, they are both very important to Aborted but lyrics aren't based on the musical feel of a song or the other way around. I write my lyrics to the music, the song itself, based on topics or thoughts that come up at the moment, if that's what you're meaning.

CoC: Do you find that the two aspects (lyrics and music) feed off each other, for example -- and if so, how do they do this?

S: Well, in a way you can state that the lyrics build up the same way the music does, or try to as much as possible. They accentuate what the music itself is doing; it's all pretty violent, so you can't talk about roses and delivering pink underwear to your neighbour now can you? As in any band of some level, I think the lyrical aspect has a pretty important part in it.

CoC: In today's scene, of which Aborted are a part, there are a number of bands promoting themselves and spreading their music under the "gore metal" banner. American bands like Impaled and Exhumed immediately spring to mind as the kind of acts many will compare Aborted with: though there are distinct differences, the profound influence of Carcass (and related bands) on all three bands in both music and lyrics is striking. Do you have an opinion on how Aborted stand in relation to the music being made around them?

S: I wouldn't compare Aborted to any of those bands, musically, but it's true that in imagery and in a lyrical aspect those bands have one point in common, and that is the love for Carcass, one of the best bands that has walked on this planet. As to the aforementioned bands, they are rather strictly limited to the medical world of Carcass; Aborted adds different aspects into it, being about organised religion, racism and social apathy which eventually breeds killers. All those things are present within Aborted, yet we're not putting it too much on the surface. It's true that music evolves, and shall always keep on evolving. As to standing in relation to the music being made now around us, of course we're listening to new bands and checking out other releases; everything we like is getting mixed up in there somehow, and there are no limits. We've always been in search for 'our' own sound of some sort, and I think with this new album, we have in some ways succeeded in calling this to be Aborted the way we wanted it to be from the beginning.

CoC: Do you have an impression of the kind of crowd the band draws?

S: That differs really, there's a lot of different people at shows, from the regular death metal freaks, to the grindcore fans, up to straight hardcore kids. Everyone is welcome at shows and it's all about respect. I'm not going to bitch to a hardcore kid who's straightedge that he can't like our music, or that we have gay fans that listen to Linkin Park or whatever. I believe everyone into music is into it for the love of music. I don't care what they wear, look like or even listen to besides death metal. It's all about respect: respect for the bands and respect for the fans, as simple as that.

CoC: Belgium as a country does not have the same kudos attached to it as, say, Sweden or Norway, in today's extreme metal scene. Do you think your experience of being in a death metal band is substantially different from many because of your national origins?

S: In a way it's harder: being from Belgium surely doesn't give you a head start as if you were to come from Sweden, Finland or even Holland. There aren't that much well known or better known extreme metal acts here; in a way Belgium has been behind on this, and not really working on this as well -- though there is a strong scene now, and eventually Belgium will get on the metal map, I'm quite sure. There's some strong bands in the scene now.

CoC: Do you feel like you have to try harder to convince people of your worth than, say, the average Swedish band from Gothenburg or Malmö produced at Fredman or Berno respectively, for example, has to?

S: Of course, as said above, not a lot of Belgian bands are known or loved; it's quite hard and you have to work very hard to get noticed; but I guess in a way now the stakes are a lot higher here and bands are working harder now, which is a good thing. It's a fact that if your album gets recorded at a well-known studio or produced by a big name and what not, that you'll draw more attention to yourself; quite silly, but that's the way it is. If you show a person a Belgian release and a product recorded at Fredman, what do you think they'll choose? I think it's quite evident.

CoC: Was the subtitling of your new album as "The Saw and the Carnage Done" a reference to / pun on the Neil Young song? Why did you choose to use a subtitling at all, and why did you want this particular phrase?

S: Yes, indeed, it's a pun on "The Needle and the Damage Done" from Neil Young; we originally were going to entitle the album just _The Saw and the Carnage Done_, but we thought it was a bit too long sounding, and not as catchy to the ear as "Goremageddon" is. "Goremageddon" has also been a term we've used from our demo on, and a couple years back some other bands have been using this as well; we didn't like that that much to be honest, so we also wanted to make a statement: this is GOREMAGEDDON. We chose to use the original title as a subtitle cause the whole together sounds pretty cool and it's kind of a blink towards _Necroticism - Descanting the Insalubrious_.

CoC: It sometimes seems like the 'rules' or 'classifications' of metal have now been set down in stone. A lot of bands seem to almost delimit themselves into a sub-generic space to give themselves a 'stronger' identity -- and it certainly makes them easier to pitch at the strongly stratified extreme metal audience. Do you feel like there are boundaries, albeit self-created ones, which 'limit' what Aborted can be musically?

S: For Aborted it's quite simple: we put into the music anything we like. It's our personal taste and everyone is into a lot of different things and we're all quite open-minded. We don't give a fuck about boundaries, barriers or whatever labels they put on music; if we like it, and we think it sounds good and fits into the music, it's good. Of course we're an extreme death metal band, so the overall has to sound extreme, but there are no barriers to mix things up a little and keep it interesting.

CoC: If you as a band made an album and agreed it was a great Aborted album, for example, would it just be nonsensical for someone else to say, "That's not how Aborted should sound"?

S: Maybe for that person yes, personally we wouldn't care about what other people say -- we're still in this band to enjoy what we're doing, and as long as we like what we do, there is no one who has the right to say how we have to sound. We're Aborted, we play death metal, it's pretty extreme and fast, yes. But that's all that is fixed, what is to come is a book that has still to be written.

CoC: Is there any form of music or experience which you think should be censored from having an impact on Aborted -- like a personal, profound love of jazz or musical theatre in one of the members, for example?

S: As said, we're five very different persons, and we enjoy different things, but we -do- know what goes in and what doesn't. We're open to anything as long as it fits to the song in question and we all like it. So I don't think people have to worry we'll get some cheesy rapping y'all and jazz funk or whatever into it, haha.

CoC: What is the best thing about being in Aborted for you, and what would you say is the best thing about Aborted, the band?

S: The best thing for everyone in Aborted would be touring, playing shows for different audiences. Playing live is still what it's all about -- no album releases or anything can beat the energy you get from the stage. The best thing about the band Aborted would be the energy we try to give back to the people who come to our shows and appreciate it. We don't try to be the standard band music-wise, and we give 200% at each show.

CoC: Is there a lyrical concept or over-arching theme to _Goremageddon_, like the exploits of a gruesome 'doctor', for instance?

S: Not to that extent, but the whole thing is all over the medical concept, yes. Lots of songs deal with serial killers. "Ornaments of Derision" deals about David Koresh, a Texan sect leader that lead to the death of hundreds of people because of religious fanaticism. As said, it's just not your regular 'hack stab slash' album; there's a lot more different aspects worked out, yet in a more gathered and streamlined 'medical' concept.

CoC: The song-titling on _Goremageddon_ seems to draw a lot on Carcass' early/mid era, especially _Necroticim - Descanting the Insalubrious_. Is this where the inspiration came from?

S: Haha, you're the first to actually notice, and yes, the title of the album was both a pun on Neil Young and _Necroticism_. Carcass has been a very influential band to many acts, but I wouldn't say Aborted is in any way a Carcass clone; there are much more influences and different things worked into it than just Carcass. But lyrics-wise, I would have to say we have, at least on this album, worked a bit towards the Carcass feel indeed.

CoC: Where did the knowledge and inspiration to write the lyrics and songtitles to _Goremageddon_ come from, both in terms of bands and other inspirations like books, films, real anecdotes and news, etc.?

S: Well, lots of the lyrics of the album were written in Denmark, at the hotel where we were staying, or in the studio. We wrote and recorded the album in a period of five months; having worked in two new people in the band, everything had to go quite fast. I just sat down every night while the others were playing and practicing and wrote whatever came to mind. "Meticulous Invagination" is about the first Ted Bundy murder; "Ornaments of Derision" is about David Koresh, as said before; as opposed to "Clinical Colostomy" which is a sequel to "Sphinctral Enthrallment" which is the usual clinical poop joke, and so on. It was quite hard to get everything right without a dictionary, any lecture or anything around, I can tell you that, hahaha.

CoC: Without which bands or musical styles could Aborted have never existed?

S: Death metal to start with, quite obviously, haha. Some bands: Slayer, Suffocation, Carcass, Dismember, Entombed, Cryptopsy, Grave, Illdisposed, Morbid Angel and much, much more.


(article submitted 19/4/2004)

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