oraclesA debut album from a new unheard of band? Well not exactly and if I tell you that this group have amidst their members a certain Sven de Caluwé I am sure a franc is dropping. It’s far from all about the Aborted frontman though and his inner beast is a vocal match to the beauty that is Sanna Salou who used to be in System Divide. Along with members of both them and Aborted, what we have here is a real solid meeting of minds, voices, music and ideas. I vaguely remember international act System Divide. Their one Metal Blade released 2010 album ‘The Conscious Sedation’ definitely came through the reviewing porthole but apart from the cover-art of it the memory has unfortunately faded. Naturally Aborted are not a band needing a refresher course, their last album Retrogore going down very nicely on these very pages back in May. If you are wondering what the combined effort of the two acts is like, it can be summed up pretty easily in one word “brutal.”

‘An Adagio For The Callous’ broods in and unleashes the incredibly powerful vocals of Sanna as things sprawl in a symphonic fashion. Roars from Sven limber up in the background and then “wallop” ‘The Tribulation Of Man’ batters in and everything is flattened. Ken Bedene drums ferociously and powerful and makes a real impact on the album as do the rampaging chops from the two guitarists and bass player. Listening to it musically it’s not quite all brutal death as maybe anticipated there is a distinct metalcore (and don’t let that put you off) flavour to things. There’s also some pretty damn impressive soloing on this particular track which could well be courtesy of one guest appearance by Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry. Look out along the course of the album for others such as Arch Enemy’s Jeff Loomis and Ryan Knight of The Black Dahlia Murder. At times the music is so fast and frantic it feels like it could trip over itself, songs like ‘Catabolic (I Am)’ a case in point but it’s all expertly played and flows perfectly. The vocals are spot on with it and rise and soar above or viciously growl away depending which throat they are coming from. Despite all this going down the band also manage to get across a great sense of melody amidst the turbulent rhythmic thrusting.

Occasionally there is a bit of a synth etched futuristic vibe found leading into songs such as ‘Quandaries Obsolete’ adding an extra dimension before jagged riffs fly off into the firmament and there’s absolutely stacks going on to make the whole album a real frantic roller-coaster ride of a listen. That vocal siren is never far away sounding completely natural rather than forced and adding a captivating element to the musical cosmos. Things do calm a bit as ‘Remnants Echo’ goes into a reflective part with some swooning melody adding another symphonic element. You could look at this as the album ballad and it really showcases Sanna’s range and talents and allows for a touch of flamboyant guitar noodling too. An absolutely unmistakable drum pattern had me sitting up in instant recognition on 1st play through of this. I should have guessed looking at the track titles that ‘The Beautiful People’ is a cover song of the well-known Marilyn Manson number and Oracles interpretation is suitably meaty and fun and can’t really fail to have you jigging and singing along. The two vocal parts make it particularly interesting.

I don’t normally get a look in when it comes to Aborted stuff being reviewed and other writers missing this on the list may yet still kick themselves. Their loss was my gain and I really enjoyed Miserycorde. Hopefully the project has much longer legs than System Divide did and it certainly has them for the live environment and who knows, next year Oracles could well be a worthy addition on the festival circuit.

(8/10 Pete Woods)