by Count Alucalb

Italian/Norwegian blackened industrial malcontents Aborym follow up their career highlight Generator with this bleak experimental concept album about mental illness and urban decay. With the departure of longtime guitarist Nysrok Infernalien Sathanas and vocalist Preben "Prime Evil" Mulvik (who replaced Attila Csihar in 2005) Aborym are now a trio consisting of founding member Malfeitor Fabban on bass, synth and vocals, guitarist Paolo "Hell:I0:Kabbalus" Pieri and notorious former Emperor member/convicted murderer Bard "Faust" Eithun on drums. This stripped down line-up are all highly proficient acolytes of the genre who are determined to push their music in new directions. However not all such experiments succeed in creating a compelling listening experience.

As one continuous piece of music broken up into ten untitled tracks ranging from two to fifteen minutes, Psychogrotesque is an ambitious but ultimately unsatisfying hour of depression and misery.I was impressed by the skill on display here, as well as the desire to break away from genre stereotypes, but I can't say I have much of a desire to listen to this again. The music--mostly atmospheric piano based dirge and faux-cocktail jazz sax with whispered vocals--is designed to create a nightmarish ambience. And that's the problem: too much ambience. The drive and attack of the music are sacrificed in favor of musicians overly sparking up their abundant skills.

Aside from occasional eruptions of blackened thrash and industrial grind the majority of this fails to rock. To quote Fenriz, this is a classic case of "too much black, not enough metal".

(Count Alucalb is the curator of the Chicago Underground Film Festival, which you can check out here: