Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé on the ManiaCult & the progression of the band’s sound.

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Join the ManiaCult and you can never leave — at least not with your life intact.

Aborted have crafted the perfect soundtrack to this sick sect, which demands human sacrifices to summon Lovecraftian demons. The sinister sound aptly snarls and snakes like the heads that worm their way out from the cult leader’s back. It’s the same type of authority Aborted have had over the death metal masses for the 26 years since vocalist Sven de Caluwé formed the band in Belgium. As the lone original member, he’s directed the band like a demented conductor: each musician that filters through the ranks a tendril he waves around like a baton.

Montreal Rocks caught up with Sven ahead of the release of their 11th album, ManiaCult, to chat about the record and when we can expect to see them back on tour.

“We haven’t seen each other in almost, I think it will be two years by the time we play, which is insane,” he says. “But other than that, you know, we’re all good. The tour starts in February in Europe, so we’ll probably rehearse for about a week straight since it would have been two years so we maybe need a little practice. So I think we’ll lock ourselves up for about a week, I guess, before the tour.”

Over the course of their career, Aborted have shifted in sound significantly, and this new record again sees them challenging themselves to take things to the next level.

“I mean, you can’t really compare it at all to what it was in the start and that’s okay. It’s definitely evolved a lot. It’s a lot more, I’d say extreme, a lot more technical. There’s a lot more stuff going on. And I mean, honestly, when we started, we didn’t even expect to even have an album out. So having one album out was something crazy to us back then, and now we’re at number 11. Ken’s been the main composer when it comes to music on the last couple of records so he’s always thinking like, all right, where do we want to go with this record? And the answer was not like straight to go more fast and more extreme and whatnot. There’s some of the most fast and extreme stuff we’ve ever done on this record. But at the same time, there’s a lot more dynamics. And I think that that’s what we really aimed at. We wanted to have a record that would really be strong in a live setting as well, focused on incorporating a lot more dynamics into records, incorporating some stuff that fans haven’t heard us do in a long time. So we were bringing some of the older stuff back. There’s some Goremageddon stuff on there. There’s a little bit of everything throughout the entire career of the band, making this, I think a much more rounded record than the last one, for example.

Sven says his band still takes inspiration from a variety of sources and not just straight-up death metal.

“It’s not like we’re only listening to what came out in 95 and, and that’s it.” he tells us, referring to the legendary Florida scene. “I mean, obviously, what came out in 95 shaped this band and it’s still very important to us. There’s still stuff that influences us from back in the day, but we’re listening to a lot of the newer stuff where there’s a lot of new bands doing a lot of crazy stuff that influences us and even me as a vocalist. There’s a lot of crazy new dudes out there. And I think it’s really interesting to see them because it’s also pushing you out of your comfort zone to try new things and to incorporate that into your music. I think that’s the beauty of the music scene. People keep inspiring each other and, and, and I think that’s a great thing.”

The diverse range of sounds is exactly what has enabled Aborted to transcend subgenres, influencing death metal bands brutal, primitive and neither at all, as well as grindcore and even deathcore. This wide scope is summed up in “Dementophobia,” the classic melodeath riffing of which brings to mind fellow forever growing grind and gore greats Carcass.

Speaking of gore, the band take a wider angle view lyrically this time around, rather than plunging their fingers in bloody wounds. That’s not to say death isn’t on the table—human sacrifices, remember?—but it’s more about the overall horrific acts committed by the ManiaCult than the execution. There’s also another possibility: that it’s all happening in leader Wayland Thurston’s head. Deeper than the story, the album touches on mental illness and the fallout from it, yet also serves as a statement on how the masses are controlled by church and state.

ManiaCult the album comes with a whole promotional concept, unlike anything you may have seen before.

“Usually we come up with a whole concept, build artwork, everything around it, and then come up with the pre-order idea that that is done especially for the fans. But this time around, we actually came up with the dumb idea first, which was we want to have an action figure itself, this crazy, crazy Wayland guy that we came up with. And it’s sort of a mascot of the band, I guess now. We wanted it to have like an 80s slasher vibe because that’s the universe that we’re in and it had to be goofy, but it also had to incorporate the concept of the record. It’s a guy that has a cult and he’s trying to summon demons, but the real story behind it is it’s based upon all the batshit crazy stuff that’s been happening the last couple of years and mental health disorders and that kind of stuff. So it works in a serious way. It works in a silly way. So we’ve been doing this and then trying to make a whole cult about it and get the fans involved. We started a Facebook group for the ManiaCult recently, and it’s actually been really, really cool to, you know, be in direct contact with the fans and see all these super fans and whatnot, you know, people have tons of records of ours and be in direct contact. We have a line of communication with them and I think it’s, it’s really cool.”

Watch the full interview with Sven de Caluwé below:

ManiaCult is out now on Century Media Records

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