Italian based act Aborym have always been an intriguing band and with their first few albums explored a terrain that mixed black metal with harsh industrial and electronic tones in a way that was not too dissimilar to artists such as Dodheimsgard and Mysticum. During their career they have had some particularly noted artists within their shape-shifting line up including Set Teitan (Watain live and Dissection), Faust (ex Emperor, Thorns), Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Prime Evil of the aforementioned Mysticum. Moving through the years they dabbled in a more avant-garde sound and now have entered a new phase which sees them dispensing with the more blackened nuances of old and into more recognisable electronic tones. With this the line-up has as ever evolved around maestro Fabban to all new personnel including particularly of note Davide Tiso formerly of the ground-breaking Ephel Duath.
There are plenty of clues of what to expect here before you even get to the music and if that album cover gives you a certain sense of déjà vu of just how further down the spiral the band have gone you will undoubtedly not be alone. With a huge array of guest contributors including and just to name some Sin Quirin (Ministry), Ricktor (The Electric Hellfire Club), Pier Marzano (Koza Noztra), drummer Andrea Mazzucca, vocalists Victor Love (Dope Stars Inc., Victor Love), Cain Cressall (The Amenta) and Nicola Favaretto N-ikonoclast, we are taken into what in effect resembles one hell of a homage to Nine Inch Nails in their prime.
It’s ‘Unpleasantness’ we start with name wise as thudding beats and psy-trance sounding bleeps brood away building into a groovy and choppy number with clean vocals not a million miles away in sound from a certain Mr Reznor. There’s no shortage of angst about it and when the chorus gets hooks in its incredibly strong and one you can easily envisage getting people bouncing around to in a big stadium. After a couple of listens this one will be sung along with make no mistake and will tenaciously be stuck in the memory. Another facet of NiN is investigated within ‘Precarious’ namely that melodic and gentle Debussy sounding piano motif giving a bit of lighter relief amidst the harsh cinematic backbone. It feels like an emotive requiem to the end of the world, quite gorgeous within its ‘fragile’ state. In almost a complete contrast ‘Decadence in a nutshell’ unveils itself with some metallic guitar chugging away and gets its teeth in with a poppy aggression, the song having a stomping mind-set and no shortage of doom and gloom with a vocal line stating “this world is not for me,” and some crazed and exuberant riffing. You could not really approach any form of homage of this nature without tipping hat to a certain family and that of the infamous Manson clan is visited with some of their original sounds breaking into a murderous rant as we creepy crawl to ‘10050 Cielo Drive.’ I was completely down with the whole vision here on 1st hearing this one and it sees the band at their fastest and most deadly, those voices from the past within it completely haunting and sending a shiver right down the spine. ‘Slipping Through The Cracks’ has some electronic blast beats and takes you off on a jaunty and rugged ride, with a keyboard break and emotively sung section from the adrenaline ride well placed adding more atmosphere the first half of the album has certainly had a lot going on within it.
Things continue with both experimentation within sound and a clear feel of familiarity from that elephant in the room that the band have not in the slightest tried to hide from. ‘You Can’t Handle The Truth’ is reminiscent of Ministry to a large extent, I haven’t seen who has contributed exactly what to where but it feels like this one has Quirin’s boot stomping all over it. Is that a distorted sound of pigs grunting behind the piano of ‘For A Better Past?’ Well it would certainly make sense if it were before everything gradually rises to a crescendo of soaring vocals, distorted to just the right frequencies. It might be a machine but the drumming on ‘Tragedies For Sale’ really rolls and drives things along on with some twisting guitar work and angsty vocals it all totally hits the spot. You feel like you have been on a helter-skelter ride throughout and a bit of a magical mystery tour, the lyrics of ‘Going New Places’ revisit old ones to a certain extent; still the clues to the concept unveil themselves. It ends at Big h in a rousing fashion rather than a narcotic fug, flamboyant guitar solos take to a dizzying conclusion, which after a 1st listen will definitely have you scratching your head.
Having said that it only took a few plays for everything to make complete and perfect sense and I found SHIFTING.negative a positive and easy to get into listening experience. It certainly proved one to dissuade me from rushing off to listen to the new Nine Inch Nails tracks that have surfaced; no need when this is the best album they never did. This may leave a few older fans by the wayside but for me the stylistic shift worked well although has left me wondering where this ever interesting band will go from here?
(8/10 Pete Woods)