To characterize Sven de Caluwé as a "busy dude" would be like calling Satan a "bad egg."
The frontman for Belgian death-grinders Aborted also moonlights as the drummer for grindcore group Leng Tch'e, which also features members of Permanent Death and Dark Ages. Both Aborted and Leng Tch'e released fresh material within the last month, so at the moment de Caluwé is a bit overwhelmed trying to get the word out about both offerings while maintaining some semblance of sanity.
"Both bands have toured together in the past, but only for a week and a half, and then I was about ready to go to a hospital," he joked. "If we decided to go out for month or more, I would need to rest a lot. But right now, this whole system kind of collapsed on me."
The "system," he explained, worked brilliantly for many years: Aborted would issue an album, then tour for several months, and the following year, the world would be gifted with some fresh Leng Tch'e to devour. Then that band would tour the world — that is, until it was time for de Caluwé to head back into the studio with Aborted. But it didn't work out that way this time around, and it's starting to take its toll on de Caluwé. Still, he admits, "I'd rather be busy than bored."
A band accustomed to chronic lineup shifts, Aborted's fifth album, Slaughter & Apparatus: A Methodical Overture, is a punishing, bona-fide face-peeler, de Caluwé said. The LP, which hit stores in late February, also signals a rebirth of sorts for the band, he said.
"The new lineup and the making of this record brought a lot of fun back to this band," he explained. "We wanted to have a more metal, more extreme-sounding record, and I think on many levels, we improved on what we had. It's not our most brutal record, but we definitely did want to make it a lot heavier-sounding than [2005's The Archaic Abattoir]. There were several things I wasn't really happy about with the last one, and we wanted this one to be more metal, more complicated. There's a lot more solos on this one, and we worked really hard to create a more diverse and aggressive record."
While the LP's drum tracks were recorded by Psycroptic's David Haley, Aborted have — after several months of auditions — recruited some new blood to take over behind the kit.
"Honestly, [drummer] Dan Wilding was the only one who was really able to play these songs at the level that we wanted them, and even more," de Caluwé said. "Musically, his brain is beyond impressive. We were pretty much floored by his abilities, especially when you consider he's only 18 years old."
Slaughter & Apparatus: A Methodical Overture was produced by Tue Madsen (Himsa, the Haunted) and features guest appearances by Hatesphere's Jacob Bredahl and former Carcass frontman Jeff Walker on "A Methodical Overture." De Caluwé said he e-mailed Walker, asked him to be on the album, and "a day later, he responded, 'If you want me to ruin your album, I'll do it.' And we were all screaming like little girls."
Leng Tch'e's latest full-length, Marasmus, was released Tuesday. It's an album that, to de Caluwé, "sounds completely different from anything we've done.
"With the previous album [2005's The Process of Elimination], we were kind of making a bridge of where we wanted to go with the music," he continued. "It's been very much evolving since then, and Marasmus is the first album where we've achieved what we wanted to with this band. There's a lot more variation — the songs are longer, there's a little rock and roll, there's death metal, hardcore, grind ... it's a good mixture of everything."
At the moment, Aborted don't have any U.S. tour plans, but the band's video for "The Chondrin Enigma" is attracting a considerable amount of attention. In the video, which was shot in Paris over two days by director Michaël Bernadat, a man is led away to a government-owned warehouse, where he's compressed into liquid sustenance.
"It pretty much sums up the lyrics of the song — we're turning some guy into jello," the singer said. "Chondrin is a substance you get from boiling or crushing bones, and the whole idea is that in a future situation, you've got way too many people on this planet, and governments decide that the best way to take care of it is to create these facilities to process the undesirable elements, and turn these people into food for the others."
Truly a disturbing thought, but as de Caluwé points out, Aborted aren't the types of guys "that would write about flowers." Touché.
The rest of the week's metal news:
3 Inches of Blood and Daath have been added to the second stage of this summer's Ozzfest. They will join previously announced acts Lamb of God, Lordi, Hatebreed, Ankla, the Showdown, Nile, Mondo Generator, Circus Diablo and, of course, Ozzy Osbourne. The 24-city trek launches July 12 in Seattle and runs through August 30 in West Palm Beach, Florida. ...
Two of metal's most recognizable siblings have reunited: Arch Enemy have announced the return of original guitarist Christopher Amott. The younger brother of guitarist Michael Amott (ex-Carcass, Carnage), Chris left the band back in 2005, taking some personal time away from music to see the world. "This is very exciting for me, returning as a full-time member," Chris Amott said in a press release about his rejoining Arch Enemy. "Right now we are working on our forthcoming album, and I'm very pleased about the way it's turning out. The new songs are fast and furious with lots of melody. After this (much needed) two-year break, I'm looking forward to getting back on the road." ... Detroit's the Black Dahlia Murder have ended a nearly five-month-long drummer search by hiring ex-All That Remains member Shannon Lucas. "He is an extremely sick player, and we can't wait to do the next album together," the band said in a statement. "We also would like to thank everyone that tried out for the band. We had the chance to jam with some amazing dudes throughout the process." The Black Dahlia Murder's first show with Lucas will be at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival, which takes place April 27-28. The band is currently writing songs for the follow-up to its 2005 album Miasma. The new effort should be out this fall. ...
Horse the Band, Light this City, the Number 12 Looks Like You and So Many Dynamos will tour together starting March 30 in South Hackensack, New Jersey. Dates run through April 26 in San Francisco. Horse the Band's new album, A Natural Death, is scheduled for release June 26. "It's about the futility and arrogance of creation and destruction, the overwhelming scale of space and time, and the brutal majesty of nature, the horror of birth and the beauty of death," keyboardist Erik Engstrom said. "Everyone who will ever live will die a natural death and will soon after be forgotten for eternity. Hopefully, this album will serve as a warning to the human race to stop taking itself so seriously, as we have seen the dire consequences of its actions." Errr, yeah. ... Swedish black-metal veterans Marduk will release their new album, Rom: 5:12, May 22. The disc was recorded at Endarker studio and includes "The Levelling Dust," "Imago Mortis" and "Through the Belly of Damnation." The album features the last appearance of ex-drummer Emil Dragutinovic performing with the band. Dragutinovic, who quit in November, has been replaced by Lars B — no relation to Metallica's Lars U. ... Austin, Texas' At All Cost, which combine thrash, melodic metal and hard rock, have signed with Century Media. The group is currently working on its sophomore album, which should be released later this year. At All Cost's debut, It's Time to Decide, came out in 2005. ...
London metalcore press darlings Fightstar will drop their album Grand Unification April 17. Tracks include "To Sleep," "Waste a Moment" and "Open Your Eyes." ... Ion Dissonance have finished their third album, Minus the Herd, which is scheduled for release June 5. The Montreal band recorded the disc with producer Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Agnostic Front). "This is by far some of the best stuff we have ever written," singer Kevin McCaughey said in a statement. "There are some changes in direction with this new release, but I definitely think the die-hard Ion followers will still be into the new stuff. I guess the only word to describe this new album would have to be 'brutal.' Just plain heaviness." ... Swedish black-death-metal band Lord Belial's seventh album, Revelation, has been bumped from April 30 to May 8. Look for the disc to include "Unspoken Veneration" and "Vile Intervention." ... Apparently, death metal is so popular in Scandinavia that everyone wants a piece of the action. On May 8, Swedish singer/songwriter Tony Naima and his band the Bitters will release an album of Dismember covers simply called Dismember. The bizarre idea came together in February 2006 when, at a Dismember record-release party, Naima was asked to take the stage to perform interpretations of two of the band's songs. The gag went over so well that Naima, with full consent of the band, decided to record an entire record of covers. Selections from the disc can be heard at Tony Naima's MySpace page.