Review Summary: Morbid Angel meets Combichrist. Seriously.
Generally in a band’s lifespan there are bound to be a few hiccups. For example, Morbid Angel, the band on the agenda for this particular review, had three genuinely amazing death metal records in Altars of Madness, Blessed Are the Sick, and Covenant. Most death metal fans you will talk to will generally describe this era of the band as their golden age. Domination would follow in 1995, and while still a good album to me, many people left that record with a bad taste in their mouths. It was after this record that bassist and vocalist David Vincent left the band. He would be replaced by Steven Tucker, and with him the band would create two more very good death metal records in Formulas Fatal to the Flesh and Gateways to Annihilation. Then along came Heretic in 2003. Much like Domination, many people wound up not really liking this record. Tucker would leave the following year to be replaced once again by Vincent. Then in early 2010, the band announced that Tim Yeung of Divine Heresy would record the drums for their then-forthcoming record due to Pete Sandoval’s required back surgery; this action enflamed the band’s fanbase, many of whom swore off the band for good. A little over a year later, Morbid Angel’s 9th studio effort entitled “Illud Divinum Insanus” is released. I can safely say that this is the single biggest musical disappointment I have ever listened to. This is a record that will make haters of Heretic rush to that album over what Morbid Angel have defecated out here. This is not so much a hiccup as a belch which causes the belcher to vomit all over his shoes.
The single biggest problem of the entire record lies in the fact that most of the tracks just are not death metal. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true; of the 11 tracks to be found, only four (Existo Vulgore, Blades for Baal, Nevermore, and Beauty Meets Beast) are full on death metal. Trey Azagthoth seems to have taken a massive liking to really bland, boring, lifeless electronic music, and has injected elements of that into Illud’s songs. And by injected, I mean most of the album sounds like the deformed love child of Rammstein and Combichrist. The opening track “Too Extreme!”, the terribly titled “Destructor vs. the Earth/Attack, the absolutely horrendous “Radikult” (more on that song later), and the closing track “Profundis – Mea Culpa”, all sound like an outtake from a drunken Rammstein jam session than what is expected out of a band the caliber of Morbid Angel. Too Extreme! is an absolutely terrible opener, with Vincent’s growls not fitting at all over the drum samples lifted directly from the Fruity Loops Studio audio program. Not helping these songs is that they all have longer runtimes than usual; Radikult for example is a staggeringly stupid 7:37. Radikult is by far the biggest *** biscuit on the record, sounding like the remnants of a load shot on a record player by Marilyn Manson. Profundis – Mea Culpa has sampled techno drums playing blast beats. That’s really all that needs to be said about how ***ed up that track is. These songs were physically painful for me to listen to. It’s as if Morbid Angel was trying to make a radio friendly death metal record, in which case they horribly and horrendously fail.
The few songs that are actual death metal, the aforementioned Existo Vulgore, Blades for Baal, Nevermore, and Beauty Meets Beast, are the few shining lights beneath the mound of musical feces. All four of these tracks are the fast, pounding, blast beat and double bass filled death metal songs that Morbid Angel is famous for. In these songs, Tim Yeung shines through with his fast as blazes feet and hands. If I were Tim, I would be ***ing embarrassed to be a credited player here. This was supposed to be his shining moment, the absolute pinnacle of everything he’s done. From Hate Eternal to Nile, from Vital Remains to Divine Heresy, the cream of the crop for Tim Yeung was supposed to have been him being able to say “I recorded an amazing record with Morbid Angel.” Instead, he played on a mound of animal manure in disguise as a Morbid Angel record. He deserves much better than this. Trey’s guitar parts on these songs are admittedly well put together, and his soloing is still a thing of beauty. David Vincent using the classic mid-pitched death metal vocal style originated by Chuck Schuldiner and Jeff Beccara in the 80s is a welcome breath of fresh air from the sea of identical sounding Lord Worm impersonators infested in the armpit hair of modern death metal. However, all of these positives simply cannot outweigh the glaring negatives found on Illud Divinum Insanus.
Somewhere, somehow, someway, Til Lindemann is listening to this album and preparing the dual flamethrowers. He’s thinking “I’m gonna get that band that stole my sound!” Then he’ll find out it was Morbid Angel, the supposedly greatest death metal band around, and he’ll just sit in awe of what happened. This album is not a Morbid Angel record, at least not for the seven lifeless techno tracks. This album, for the most part, is not even a metal album. It is bad. Really, really, really bad. Aside from the four death metal tracks, there is nothing of value here. Not even fans of bad music will like this record. Go listen to the new albums from Hate Eternal, Origin, Deicide, Obscura, and Autopsy. They all melt the ocean that this album would have been blown out of. If Trey Azagthoth is so hell bent on making bad electronic music, then he needs to go and make some bad electronic music. Just don’t say that Morbid Angel made it. To do that is a complete disservice to the fans that immortalized them as one of the greats of death metal.