Morbid Angel

Illud Divinum Insanus

Written by: EW on 19/06/2011 09:36:21

Reading this as you are in mid-June at the earliest it is inconceivable you have not already borne witness to the hurricane of hate that has been brewing at Morbid Angel's door since the true nature of eagerly-awaited "Illud Divinum Insanus" was exposed. When such words as "St." and "Anger" are used in comparisons you know things are not going well.

I hardly feel the need to describe the details of this here record for it seems every man and his dog has already done so, but as a reviewer I will do, in a minute. Firstly however, listening to "Illud…", a whopping eight years in the making, and reading/listening to much of the feedback has raised many thoughts in my mind of the very status of 'extreme metal' today, fan's perceptions of what is 'extreme' and what ownership fans have, or feel they have, over a band's music. By incorporating a significant helping of industrial into their palette (incase you still didn't know), have Morbid Angel overstepped the mark of what is 'extreme'? Are we as fans too narrow-minded when it comes to accepting change, especially when artists are frequently lambasted for releasing the same albums over and over? Do Morbid Angel owe it to their fans, who have waited so long for a Dave Vincent-fronted album, to give them what they want, or is band leader Trey Azagthoth free to feature collaborations with Rebecca Black if he so wanted?

These considerations and many more of course are hypothetical but I do believe all extreme metal fans have a part to play in Morbid Angel having taken this route into 'career coma' ('career suicide' has not been attained just yet for they can recover from this) through the demands of expectation and worship that are heaped upon what are just human shoulders. Quite whether it is these pressures that caused the abomination of "Too Extreme!" is particularly hard to fathom though, as the band appeared to have made a conscious effort to sink lower than anyone could have thought possible with not just one, but any number of travesties that litter "Illud…"'s landscape.

"Omni Potens" would actually be a good introduction piece if it was swiftly followed by some classic death metal, but raped as it is by "Too Extreme!" it contributes to an agonising 9 minutes on repeat listens waiting for anything remotely listenable in a DM context. Thankfully what follows in "Existo Vulgoré" and "Blades For Baal" is much better: Azagthoth at last comes to the party and Vincent instantly sounds more convincing than he does spouting out the atrocious lyrics of before, but in Tim Yeung they have a skilled drummer triggered to oblivion, a fact I find goes some way to destroying the goodwill generated by the potent riffing finally on display.

"I Am Morbid" is peculiar - it is not one of the album's industrial stillborns yet the lead riff suggests it should be. No doubt designed as a live track it is nothing more than a distinctly mediocre cheese-fest on record. "10 More Dead" sounds curiously Nevermore-ish (as in the Seattle band) at first as a semi-decent track on the road to a "God of Emptiness" feel, before "Destructos Vs. The Earth - Attack" makes a bold challenge to rival "Too Extreme!" as the worst track ever released by Morbid Angel. Industrial beats and dodgy electronics…it's…just…awful.

"Nevermore" was not surprisingly chosen as the lead track seemingly forever ago now when snippets of the album first started to appear (the halcyon days, when we were all expecting a classic!) and it's clear to see why: it destroys everything before it with a power and groove that would not have been out of place on "Covenant". "Beauty Meets Beast" is based around a very strong lead riff, which makes it a pity the overall quality of the song does not maintain this, though Azagthoth does chip with a typically mind-bending solo of his late on. "Radikult" and "Profundis - Mea Culpa" are the fourth and fifth contentious songs in the outcast clan: do we really wish to discuss in detail these any more?

So there you have it, the return of Morbid Angel. Forget the opinions of the knee-jerking reviewers suggesting this is a 10% or below; it is not all bad, there are in fact a number of acceptable songs present. Sadly much of those do lack the bite for why MA are so loved, plus they have not aided their cause with the most ridiculous and nonsensical track ordering I've heard this side of Manowar's "Warriors of the World" - bookending the album with the worst tracks is such a basic error I'm staggered it has happened.

In conclusion: this is a poor release from any death metal band, but when it's Morbid Angel the fallout is becoming apocalyptic. The decision to radically alter their sound has backfired; maybe they should have spoken to Autopsy. The question is: will the fans ever take them back?


Download: Nevermore, Blades for Baal
For The Fans Of: Death metal? Industrial?
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 06.06.2011
Season of Mist Records

Incase you’ve not seen it, this about says it all at the conclusion of my double review:

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