Evil Dr. Smith : The three crazy dudes from the Italian (post) black metal scene have returned! It took these lazy bones from Rome more than four and half year to come up with a follow up for 'Generator', so it better be good! Especially since that latter one had a more industrialised character and wasn't as twisted as their previous albums 'Fire Walk With Us!' (2000) and the excellent'With No Human Intervention' (2003). Hopefully they have found their sick and twisted mind again on this album 'Psychogrotesque'? Well, with such an album title you can hardly go wrong, isn't it?
Well, it kinda is. The album, which actually consists of only one marathon-long song of 45 minutes, isn't that fucked up as I was hoping for. Sure, the lyrics appear to deal about a story of social aberrations in a madhouse - and such kind of disturbing themes is always intriguing, but obviously you can't hear a damn thing what their growling and screaming about. I think that since the departure of cult black metal shrieker Attila Csihar, who fled to Stephen O'Malley and his projects (Sunn O))) and lots of others) in 2005, Aborym has lost a lot of his craziness. The two new members developed a more structured sound with founding father Malfeitor Fabban. This time they also got advice from sound technician Marc Urselli, a guy who worked also for John Zorn (and his Tzadik label) and Laurie Anderson, so he's surely a guy who knows about avant-garde music.
So don't expect predictable black metal music: Aborym still is industrialised black metal with a lot of strange twists and eruptions. Especially those twists makes this album better than the average (post) black metal album. However, it's a sign on the wall that these twists mainly come from the guest players. The omnipresent electronic muddling is done by none less than four guest players, there is an occasional saxophone player to be heard (Marcello Bolena), there even a nice opera sample around and also Davide Tiso (from the even more incomprehensible and enigmatic Ephel Duath) helps on guitar. There's an pleasant amount of unpleasant atmosphere on the album, but somehow I miss the real craziness, the real fucked up attitude, the terrifying horror and the nauseating sickness. The music intrigues, but doesn't grab me by the balls like 'With No Human Intervention' did in 2003, nor are the compositions & ideas memorable enough to compensate the lack of craziness. Also, I'm not that impressed by the drumming parts of Faust and the hoarse potato-in-the-mouth snarling of Malfeitor.
Don't get me wrong: it's still an enjoyable black metal album for the more progressive, electronic followers of that scene (people who are into Kovenant, And Oceans, Arcturus, Thee Maldoror Kollective, Vulture Industries, et cetera). Regarding the rebellious reputation of Aborym, I was hoping for more. The album sounds a bit too safe for my ears. Er, hold on? What did I write just now? "Safe”? Gee, never thought I would write a word like that in an Aborym review. Suddenly I realise where Aborym could have made a mistake. That guy Marc Urselli also worked for Sting and Eric Clapton…