To complement the ugly, corrosive riffs and harrowing, minor-key samples, I called up their frontman Fabban to chat about the roots of the band, retaining creative integrity, and (of course) golden showers, heroin, and poop.
Industrial metal sure ain’t what it used to be. Marilyn Manson’s getting drunker and fatter by the day. Trent Reznor’s writing soundtrack music (who knows what the next Nine Inch Nails album will sound like?), Rammstein are turning into a performance art pop band. Fear Factory still sound pretty great, but they’re hardly as popular as they were 20 years ago. And now that Ministry’s guitarist Mike Scaccia has passed away, Ministry will never tour again. What’s an industrial metal fan to do?
At least, as we crawl through the detritus of ill-conceived MP3s and old Troll and Mysticum demos, we can always turn to Aborym. The Italy-based slaughterhouse is fronted by Fabban and features ex-Emperor drummer Bard “Faust” Eithun, who—regardless of what you think of his checkered past—still bangs the shit out of the drums and is open to playing his kit in ways that transcend black metal. And defying traditional musical conventions is what Aborym are all about. The band’s new double-album, Dirty, is a bleak, jarring hybrid of raw, primitive industrial, electronic-inspired metal and jaw-cracking brutality that we’re only too happy to premiere in streaming form. Here's the first part of the record, which contains their original material—the second LP is mostly covers and re-done songs:
To complement the ugly, corrosive riffs and harrowing, minor-key samples, Fabban wrote some nasty, sordid lyrics about the cesspool contemporary civilization has become, the destructive potential of dysfuntional relationships, and other things that indelibly stain the mind beyond the repair of drugs or psychotherapy. I was curious, so I called him up to chat about the roots of Aborym, retaining creative integrity, and (of course) golden showers, heroin, and poop.
Noisey: How did you want Dirty to be a development from your last album, Psychogrotesque?
Fabban: We strongly wanted to new shit to sound absolutely fucked up, modern, eye-poppin’ and crazy, man. We wanted it to sound neurotic, cold like a cadaver as far as regard to the electro-industrial parts, and scorching like hell as far as the arrangements, melodies and ambient stuff went.
You spent two years working on this. Was it an especially challenging album to create?
The recordings were very long and very, very intense and stressful for us since “Dirty” is a double album. It was especially very hard to fix the sounds of the old Aborym songs we re-recorded, “Roma Divina Urbs” and “Fire Walk with Us.” But at the end we created something really unique. I knew it was fuckin’ cool, obviously. I wouldn’t have released it if I didn’t think it was a kick-ass album. I had a hunch that the people among our fan base that prefer the modern, avant-garde progressive side of our sound would like “Dirty” a lot. What came as a surprise to me is that even the people outside of that world seem to think that it’s one of the best things we’d ever done. I sent the new album to some close friends and journalists. And fuck, yes, the feedback was amazing. Our mix of different styles is what I usually think the press aren’t interested in, but they gave it a pretty good time so that’s great.
What was the greatest obstacle you encountered during the creation of Dirty?
This album is more organic and is less about black/death metal. It’s more about other textures like keyboards, synths, electronic and industrial sounds -- and maybe that’s why it was taken more seriously. But the hardest part of the whole process was mixing and making sure all the different sounds and textures blended together right.
Were you ever reluctant to take musical chances or embark on experimentation that might confuse the band’s fans, especially in some of the more melodic moments.
I’m not scared of melodies if they are created with taste, class and elegance. But you know what? I think the thing about extreme metal fans, particularly now, is that they are looking for something new. I’m kinda bored of extreme metal, especially black metal, and I get the feeling that a lot of the fans are looking for something more unconventional, or perhaps more crazy -- something they can have a real fuckin’ trip with. I mean how many times can you hear the same standard black metal guitar sound, the same standard death metal drum sound? It’s a very over familiar musical vocabulary, at least to me, and one thing you can say about this new Aborym album whether you like it or not is that it's very unusual. It’s new fucked up music for a new fucked up generation. It is crucial for us to play something that we like in the first place. If thousands of people afterwards like it as well, that makes us happy. But believe me, if someone shits on our music, we can still sleep at night. Aborym has been the most successful of all the things I’ve done, but I never want to get in the situation of making records just to please the fan base, which a lot of bands do. In fact, that’s what most bands do.
You’re one of the only really creative bands out there blending black metal and industrial – and everything in between. Is the goal to create the perfect combination of the two, and how do you strive to accomplish that?
To play music means self-satisfaction to me and it comes out naturally. It’s better than having sex! Aborym is like taking on a strong drug, like speedballing. the outcomes are always unpredictable and strong. You cannot decide coldly and rationally how the body and brain will react. You won’t know in advance if you will be okay or if you will throw up. You won’t know when you will be able to get up again or what you will be thinking over that period of time. This is Aborym. We do not have any rules, except those created for the people who decide to listen to our albums. The new songs are very, very twisted and dark. There is everything in there from the most organic of instruments -- like guitars and bass guitar -- to pure electronic industrial noise. Then again everything you can say about our style, you can say the exact opposite about it, too. You can say it’s beautiful, but it also ugly. It’s very organic, but it’s very electronic. You could say it’s easy to get into, but at the same time it’s pretty difficult to absorb. There are things on this record that metalheads would be appalled by and I love that about it. I wish more people would make music like that, with a 100 percent open-mind and with freedom because it bores me when I hear an album and I can say ‘Okay, this is a death metal album. Okay, this is classic black metal.” Aborym is not a black metal band, Aborym is not a death metal band, Aborym is uncategorizable.
Who are some of your favorite black metal bands and what do you think of the black metal scene today?
I listen to very little black metal, but the bands I still love comes from the past, actually. My favorite black metal album is the first Bathory’s album. I listen to different kind of genres. I love rock, hard rock, heavy metal, electronic music, techno, drum n bass, jungle music. I don’t believe in any scene, anyway.
Describe how you discovered industrial music and what bands had the greatest effect on you. Any good stories?
I discovered industrial music many years ago. At that time, I played keyboards and synth in a band called The M.e.m.o.r.y. Lab (The Modern Expressing Machines Of Revolutionary Youth Laboratory”). That was before I formed Aborym. My first album was Pankow’s “Kille Kille...”, then I discovered Einsturzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze. My approach to the music changed when I listened for the first time to Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral”. That album changed my life.
What are the greatest clichés in black metal and industrial and how did you seek to embrace or avoid them?
When we do sit down to make the record, you will probably hear the influence of the stuff each one of us has been doing, because that’s part of the plan. Each one of us does his own thing, picks up some new influences and comes back and we put all those styles together. But I say again, we don’t play black metal at all. It was part of our background of course. We have always been dedicated to the creation of our music without caring about the rules and clichés. And today many young bands are trying to sound like us. This is awesome.
Why did you call the album Dirty? Are there any lyrical themes to the record?
The concept of the record is based on modern decadence, crisis, social seclusion and isolation. In “Irreversible Crisis”, for instance, I took inspiration from writings dating back from the ’70. At the time, America was shaken by huge social turmoil, which was often quite violent. What happened was that the need for rebellion against a common enemy, the American empire and its politics, united different and disparate forces, from the extreme left to the far right. Movements like the Weather Underground or the Black Panthers fought together and actually achieved something. I believe that in some cases the violence, the collective explosion, worked in a positive way. I think this could be particularly useful in today’s climate. The message of the song is act now before you get fucked through and through. Other lyrics deal with sexual repression, urban violence, diseases, complex, unstable, often violent kinds of relationships. I just wrote about what I see every day in my city. My only great inspiration, what actually pushed me to write lyrics like that, is my daily, careful study on the people I meet every day. It’s exactly a cross-section of modern society. “Raped by Daddy” is based on “Fire Walk with Me” and “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch. The end tale is a sort of Aborym-style cover of the “Twin Peaks” theme. It talks about Laura Palmer being repeatedly raped by her father in her most obscure dreams, and it’s a metaphor for all the filth that occurs within the Church and in politics. “Bleedthrough” is a reflection of a typical couple who has a complex, unstable, often violent relationship. We see them on the pages of gossip magazines and their stories often end up with blood baths.
Dirty and clean are such subjective terms. Should people strive to live a life somewhere between the two?
Each and everyone should live the life they love. The main problem of our society is that people’s dignity is being systematically destroyed and people often live a life they don’t want. They do jobs they don’t like at all, they lives in a context that they don’t like at all. People are disappointed, angry, feeling betrayed by the system just because they would like to live their lives in different ways and in many cases people don’t live, they just survive. We all know we’ve only got so much time in this life to find happiness, find the right relationship and be in the right job. I think we're either unconsciously or consciously scared all the time that time is going away.
What’s the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done?
It was when a girl pee on me. It was a very long golden shower.
What's the dirtiest thing you've ever seen?
It happened many years ago in an illegal rave party. I was, of course, very stoned and doped. I was slumped on the floor, then I saw a guy who injected heroin on my right and a girl shitting on my left. It was disgusting.
Jon Wiederhorn is the co-author of the book “Louder Than Hell: the Definitive Oral History of Metal,” which comes out May 14 on !t Books/Harper Collins. It features tons of revealing quotes from members of Slayer and hundreds of other metal bands.
You can follow him on Twitter - @LouderThanHell