Review Summary: The last four letters of the album's title hint at its origins.
No one has quite given this album the verbal flaying it deserves. No one has quite articulated what a testament it is to the degradation of music, and I will not stand for this. Someone needs to pwn the second worst metal album of 2011 before the year is over.
Now, first things first. What the hell is that thing on the cover?
I've been staring at it for like, 10 minutes and I still can't figure it out. It seems to be a knight of sorts with a flaming head, three arms, and one eyehole in its helmet (very impractical unless the knight is a cyclops). It also has an Islamic crescent moon, Masonic square and compass, and three inverted pentagrams (a bit of a religious identity crisis?), and if you look closely at the left arm, it seems to be wearing lingerie and suggestively drooping its armor like a dress. Maybe these guys are going for a Baphomet style male-female duality, but I'm just not buying it.
Second things second, the reason this album is such a monumental disappointment is because it was 8 years in the making. Morbid Angel had EIGHT YEARS to make a masterpiece, or at least a generic album that rehashed their established sound. Instead, they insulted us with this wannabe Combichrist bullshlt, complete with butchered Latin, inane self-references, and sub-Pantera tough guy posturing. It's truly the "St. Anger of Death Metal" as many are proclaiming it to be. Onto the review.
Listen to these ominous sounding MIDI synths. I feel like I should be playing Age Of Empires 1/5
It boggles the mind that no one in the vicinity of Morbid Angel put an end to this song title. It's like David Vincent walking around with a huge "Kick Me!" sign that everyone just denies the existence of. At first, it's funny, but then it's just infuriating because the band is quite literally stylizing their music as "too extreme," which it is, but not for the intended reasons. This song establishes and defines the sound of "That Divine Insanity": generic death metal with novel electronic and "industrial" sounds sprinkled on top. I say "novel" because Morbid Angel clearly lacks the understanding of electronic music required to make it, well, good. Just listen to the bass drum on this track. I sincerely hope it's not Tim Yeung playing that, because it sounds like it's pulled straight from a vintage Casio synth. Oh, and don't get me started on the lyrics. First we have David Vincent echoing his own vocals ("Pounding, pounding! You feel it burning, burning!"
) and then launching into the most laughable Spanish I've ever heard:
Tu corazón latiendo
Te sientes el dolor
Deseo la locura
Tu gritas... Extreme!!!
De sur America
A puertas de oro athens
A la quema inframundo
Bese su nueva creencia
Es nombre Extreme
It just so happens that I speak Spanish, and these lyrics translate to:
Your heart pounding
You feel the pain
I desire the madness
You scream "Extreme!!!"
??? America ("Du sud" is French for "of south", "De sur" is Spanish for "of south")
At the gates of golden Athens
The burning underworld
With me "Extreme"
Vision will suffer
Ears will melt
Kiss your new belief
It is name "Extreme"
More psuedo-Latin crap. This title doesn't translate to anything
coherent, though I'll assume it's supposed to mean "Vulgar Existence." Look at these freakin' lyrics:
Vulgore of the gory
Vulgore for the glory glory
Vulgore tells the ugly story
Vulgore existo vulgoré
All the worldly deeds of malice displayed
From a wicked recipe this potion is made
Each drop of future's bleak and calloused in view
Sick clerics unprepared for vulgore I spew
Lyrics in death metal are, of course, hard to make out, but that doesn't mean they can be terrible. People are bound to look up the lyrics sooner or later, and drivel like this serves only to ruin the mood. -2/5
Blades For Baal:
You know what's funny? In most regions of the Middle East, Baal was considered an agricultural god, so are they talking about wheat threshers or something? 1/5
I Am Morbid: "NORBIT! NORBIT! NORBIT!" 0/5
10 More Dead:
OK, here's probably the only good song from this album. Some nice riffs from Trey Azagthoth and some nice double bass drumming from Tim Yeung. My main point of criticism is the "10 more dead" tagline. Think of how insignificant 10 more deaths would to be a bona fide killer like Genghis Khan or Vlad The Impaler. Very mundane, guys. 2/5
Destructos Vs. The Earth / Attack:
Plodding, boring song with an absolutely cringeworthy delivery from David Vincent. 30 seconds into the song and he's already barking like a dog. Apparently, this is partially inspired by Trey Azagthoth's love of Sailor Moon, which I'll pretend is totally not sexual in any way. 0/5
That's funny. This song seems to be Existo Vulgoré masquerading under a different name. A fan favorite, but ultimately disposable. 2/5
Beauty Meets Beast:
Will someone please inform David Vincent that "ensnare" is not a noun? Why is "ensnare" suddenly the du jour word for all lame metal bands to abuse? Trivium just misused it on their last album as well. Otherwise, this is one of the more bearable tracks on this album, marred only by lame chanting near the end. Oh, and "come to me moist." 2/5
Oh, I get it. It's a combination of "radical" and "kult." Thank you for clarifying that your kult is radical. Otherwise I would have mistaken it for a garden variety, moderate kult. But in all seriousness, check out these lyrics if you think this album deserves anything more than a 1:
Cause we've been crossing the line since 1989
We're moving the world
Because our power is a shining
Sick groove with ***ing magic to prove that
The radicals are here to stay!
We're living hardcore and radical
We'll always be maniacal and animal
They fear us cause we're physical irrational
Our radi-killer kult is thriving!
Remember that show Rocket Power? Well, David Vincent's lyrics are basically equivalent to the dialogue on that show and the first line is absolutely priceless considering that Morbid Angel formed in 1984. Musically, this song is just as bad, starting out with a bass riff and drum beat that don't even mesh coherently, and segueing into the worst take on big band swing you'll ever hear. If this song isn't an abomination, then every known principle of the universe- scientific, mathematical, philosophical, or otherwise- is wrong. -∞/5
Profundis- Mea Culpa: "The Depths- My Fault"
OK? Not even the Mortal Combat-meets-Metroid intro can save this from being a horrible closer to a horrible album. Another plodding song with no dynamics and pseudo-Gregorian vocals to top it all off. 0/5
Reflecting on this album as a whole, it shares a lot in common with Queensryche's Dedicated To Chaos
. Both are kindred spirits in a way- the byproducts of two washed up metal musicians marginalizing other band members and making a desperate vie for relevancy. Just as Geoff Tate fell short in emulating his new idol David Bowie, David Vincent fell short in emulating Ministry, Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, Rammstein, or even Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. The result is a ill-conceived fusion of death metal and industrial music that ends up insulting both genres and their fanbases.