Morbid Angel - Illud Divinum Insanus review
|Album:||Illud Divinum Insanus|
|Release date:||June 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
09. Beauty Meets Beast
11. Profundis - Mea Culpa
More than any other release in recent times, Morbid Angel's Illud Divinum Insanus has polarized our staff members. As anyone familiar with these Floridian death metal forefathers knows, they just came back from a long 8 year absence with a new album that also features their original vocalist, David Vincent, for the first time in 16 years. Due to the notability of this release, we decided to create a collaborative review, which gives all of the staff members to voice their opinions. Here they are, ranging from most negative to quite positive.
I think there is really only one lesson to be learned from Morbid Angel's latest magnum anus and it is that... Gen, David Vincent's wife, must give a wicked blowjob. If you've ever heard her crappy band Genitorturers, you'd immediately notice that her hubby's band's attempt at inane industrial metal is just a bad copy of an already shitty derivative. Don't get me wrong, I really love the idea that an established band such as Morbid Angel should surprise all of their dumb orthodox fans with a left-field release. But not if they are so shit at it. Besides those awful, stale and flat industrial metal tracks, Illud Divinum Insanus is populated with extremely mediocre death metal that continuously insults the listener's intelligence with inane lyrics and cliche musical passages. Truly, the only impressive thing about this album is its intense Nefilim-style album artwork, the rest of the band's inspiration must have gone down Gen's throat.
Morbid Angel. That name should mean something to you if you consider yourself a metalhead. Altars Of Madness, pioneers of death metal, Trey Azagthoth. Prior to 2011, the worst they could do was Heretic. On June 6th, 2011, everything the metal community knew about this timeless act became a lie. Crushing innovative extreme metal riffing devolved into a "metallic" attempt at covering "Be My Lover". David Vincent's harsh mumbling all but asserts the audience that his talents are waning along with the rest of the band. Rob Zombie actually gained credibility as a musician. Marilyn Manson actually gained credibility as a man! Somewhere in the distance, Till Lindemann can be heard laughing at all the true crusaders. Somewhere further back legions of death metal fans can be seen on their computers purchasing the FutureSex/LoveSounds deluxe edition because iTunes recommends JT as a similar artist. This shit is more viral than "Friday"; and yes, Morbid Angel are well aware of what day comes after...wards. KILL A COP!
It's been done before by many bands. In one hand common and cheap electronics blend with second league death metal, on the other... Morbid Angel try to make us believe that Illud Divinum Insanus is "Too Extreme!" Well, it is… not. And this song has to be one ugly motherfucker that makes you think your CD player has spikes and lags big time. Concerning the album in general, it's groovy, kind of dynamic, blending a deflowered Morbid Angel sense with mechanical vibes, it's funny and cool to listen to, unless it's not a Morbid Angel one. But it is, damn. A mediocre and funny to hang around buddy that you won't remember after brave doses of alcohol , but he'll be somewhere around. Feeling already genitortured? Then kill a cop! Or Marilyn Manson.
Disappointment from an album is only possible when expectations for it are high. The release of the new Morbid Angel album had been put back so many times over the years that expectations had been subtly lowered, thus resulting in my experience of Illud Divinum Insanus to be one without the expectation of it being a new classic, but rather out of morbid curiosity. Regardless of being a massive Morbid Angel fan, I couldn't help but find this new album bizarrely addictive at first, but after the gimmick wore off I am left with an album albeit enjoyable, with no staying power in the long run.
"Frankly I'm not sure what the big deal is. If it wasn't Morbid Angel, I don't think anyone would care. The warning signs were all there... their prior album Heretic was mediocre and the worst in their discography. This thing took the better part of a century to record. To me it just sounds like a mediocre continuation of their last album with David Vincent ("10 More Dead" is "Where The Slime Live MMXI"... ) with some oddball tracks. Ok, so they are nothing particularly special or experimental... Radish Kult's lyrics are laughable and "Destructo" sounds like Trey wrote the theme song to an Anime show that does not yet exist. The album isn't that good, but it really isn't that bad, either. It's meh. But let's face it, they are a legendary band returning after a long hiatus, so no matter what they came out with, people were bound to overreact one way or another. The biggest disappointment was the lack of Morbid Angel's infamous, zany liner notes."
Be it as it may, I'm a huge fan of death mixed with industrial, so I'm quite easily drawn to the indus tracks. But, my oh my, "Too Extreme" is fucking boring, there's no soul, no energy, nothing. Too Extreme Boredom indeed. "Destructos", if you forget the lame name, is infinitely better (and maybe Mr Coldy is right with his 'anime soundtrack' idea). And, yes, "Radikult". Well, I'll just say that when I manage to ignore the lyrics, I kinda like the track.
The death songs are a mixed bag as well. Many people seem to like "I Am Morbid" or "10 More Dead", but I'm usually bored before the track ends. "Blades For Baal" is another matter, really, and the album's highlight as far as I'm concerned.
Also, no one really mentioned the drums. The insanely boring, mechanical, soulless drummer. Tim "The Missile" Yeung could as easily be replaced by a drum machine, we wouldn't hear any difference. Or maybe that's because of the over-slick production by Erik Rutan?
Oh, and did I mention that, while I understand the outrage, I'm not one of you? No, I'm not a lifelong MA fan. Shame on me. And While I hugely respect the band (and somehow still do), I only a like a few songs here and there. So, guess what? There's no difference, in the end.
It's definitely NOT a good album... But it's not completely awful either. I don't mind experimentation at all but only when it's done well. Morbid Angel couldn't make this whole "industrial/death metal" concept work at all if we look at the great picture. I have to admit that I enjoy some moments from time to time but it's only because of the huge feeling of the album being "so bad that is good"... Like a shitty horror B-movie. Some death tracks aren't a completely a waste of time... I believe songs like "Existo Vulgore" and "Nevermore" really work if only they were a bit more aggressive and with a more ambitious songwriting (this last thing is something the album lacks a lot IMO).
The reason to why the fans are overreacting is understandable. No matter if the album was good or bad, the fans would exaggerate to epic proportions. Morbid Angel released an album after 8 long years. The possibility of failure was right there... But the music being completely different of what they used to make AND being bad at it feels like a double failure for the fans, giving them more reasons to bash it completely.
It would seem that people's expectations about music are directly proportionate to time. The longer the wait for an album, the more people expect of it. It would seem that an 8 year hiatus somehow obliged Morbid Angel (at least in the eyes and ears of the fans) to make a groundbreaking masterpiece that would re-define death metal, metal in general, and maybe even the music in general. It was supposed to be better than Black Sabbath, Slayer, Death and Nile put together! I'd say this is the main reason why fans are so disappointed with the album. They expected too much.
Another reason is that some of the songs on Illud Divinum Insanus are actually pretty bad. I can't imagine anything that would defend songs like "Too Extreme!", "Destructos..." and "Mea Culpa". Especially the first one easily ranks among the worst fucking shitty sound bits that ever saw the light of day. On the other hand, many other songs on this album (the more "traditional" ones) are actually very decent, even excellent - "I Am Morbid", "10 More Dead" stand out the most. All in all, Illud Divinum Insanus is a good release on the traditional side, but it fails miserably on the experimental side. It depends on a listener which side he will let prevail.
It's too early for me to give a definite opinion, but I've found myself going back to some of these songs quite a lot already - originally from 'morbid' curiosity at how unexpected it was, but gradually they become more appealing with more listens. Sure, there's some shockingly non-'traditional' sounding stuff on the new album - but MA have always experimented to some extent. Domination used to get slagged off by some people saying it was too commercial, that some bits sounded like Pantera, and such like - and even the masterpiece Blessed are the Sick received negative criticism from some due to having a few 'different' songs.
Oh, and he's blatantly saying "killer cult", not "kill a cop", for pity's sake! Just goes to show that some people aren't bothering to listen to it properly!
What some of you don't see is that, at least from a business point of view, releasing a boundary-pushing beast of an album like Insanus makes perfect sense. Think about it. Those ABC albums may have been way ahead of their time and flat-out bitching and all, but it pretty much went downhill from there. So, after some mediocre releases and eight years of silence, how do you (as in: first-waver defending your reputation as 'notorious' death metal act) stay relevant in an overly saturated scene with countless of copycats that do exactly the same and in some cases even better than you (think Deicide or Arsis)?
Answer: you strategically differentiate yourself from the pack. Not by living up to the ridiculously high expectations set forth by elitist metal douches roaming internet forums all day, but by doing something interesting for a change. Y'know, experiment a bit, let the creative juices flow (like Paradise Lost or Darkthrone did). Until you get a sky-melting mix of influences that range from old school death metal to cutting-edge extreme indus metal (perhaps a bit too extreme though). Unlike you, Morbid Angel stopped being stuck in the past and modernized their shit, setting new standards for the next generation of death metal bands to come. Elitist haters gonna hate.
||Written on 13.06.2011 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.|
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