Sunday, 1 April 2012

MORBID ANGEL - Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)

01  Omni Potens
02  Too Extreme!
03  Existo Vulgoré
04  Blades for Baal
05  I Am Morbid
06  10 More Dead
07  Destructos vs. the Earth/Attack
08  Nevermore
09  Beauty Meets Beast
10  Radikult
11  Profundis (Mea Culpa)

Morbid Angel is a death metal band, so many fans will likely be disappointed with the introduction of the industrial elements found on Illud Divinum Insanus. Still, even Morbid Angel has the right to grow and experiment, even if all fans want is another crushing beast like Covenant or Domination. The problem with the experimentation on Illud Divinum Insanus is that’s terrible, possibly worse than when thrash veterans Metallica recorded their Load/Re-Load albums then followed those up by releasing St.Anger. My point is always this: Why alienate your fanbase? You have a long career playing a certain genre of music because that's what you love and you gain success and a following from it. So why suddenly abandon a style which you are well regarded for in favour of wild experimentation and music that is technically redundant? How can you be completely oblivious to derision and criticism?

Morbid Angel may be back, but long gone are the furious and inventive riffs from founding member/guitar wizard Trey Azagthoth. Long gone are the unrelenting blast-beats and furious double-bass beats from Pete Sandoval. Instead, we’re left with fifty-six plodding minutes of (mostly) forgettable death metal and/or offensively terrible industrial metal. To be fair, about half of the album is 100% classic Morbid Angel death metal. There are the good tracks like; “Existo Vulgore,” “Blades for Baal,” and “Nevermore.” The band sounds really great on these songs – intense, razor sharp, and catchy. “Beauty Meets Beast” is also good slithering, energetic songs. The problem is, even these songs are not up to par with the classic tracks from the band's back catalogue, but they're not entirely awful either. David Vincent tends to use the classic mid-pitched death metal vocal style, originated by Chuck Schuldiner and Jeff Beccara in the 80s and it's welcome breath of fresh air from the sea of identical sounding Lord Worm impersonators infested in the armpit hair of modern death metal. Tim Yeung of Divine Heresy, who recorded the drums for this record due to Pete Sandoval’s required back surgery does a commenable job on the lackluster material presented.

However, any positives simply cannot outweigh the glaring negatives found on Illud Divinum Insanus. The techno/industrial elements that have been added in the studio just sound like recycled cuts from a very bad Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson album and the lyrics for pretty much every song on Illud Divinum Insanus are an utter abomination. "Too Extreme" and "Destructos vs The Earth" are absolutely laughable. "Radikult" opens with the lines "cop, cop, killa cop" before launching into a pounding rap beat with David Vincent proclaiming that the band have been "crossing the line since 1989" and that they are living "hardcore radikult"......This song is actually one of the worst I have ever heard by any artist ever, yet it is so hilariously bad that I have grown quite fond of it. It must just be pity, or maybe "divine insanity".

For a band with eight years in between studio releases, things just seem either far too lazy or intentionally obnoxious. Either way, I can’t imagine recommending this album to anyone. I won’t write off Morbid Angel as a whole just yet, but they’ve probably lost a major portion of their fan base with their eighth studio LP. This album has been universally panned and unfortunately will be remembered for quite some time for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn't be surprised if the band returned quite soon with a much more brutal (and obviously apologetic) release...

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