Morbid Angel : Illud Divinum Insanus

They Say :- Shattering the boundaries of creativity and imagination while evolving with each groundbreaking release throughout its historic career, Morbid Angel stands alone as the true icon in extreme music.

The people of the twitter say :- “no idea how this got through the band’s own quality control”, “Total horseshit front to back”, “Terrible, what the hell happened”, “OH WHAT THE FUCK, MORBID ANGEL?”

We Say :- The shitstorm that has been unleashed by the experts of the internet towards the new album from Death Metal legends Morbid Angel has been simply breathtaking. Not since Celtic Frost’s Cold Lake has such vitriol been poured upon a band with howls of indignant outrage reverberating through the ether. And the charge made, the heinous accusation leveled against them.. well… they had the audacity to…. brace yourself…. change, to release an album that doesn’t sound like the last Morbid Angel album, or the one before, or the one before that.

Now usually the summary comes at the end of the review, but let’s get this out the way first. This is not the album of the year. It’s not going to make many top 10s come December..

BUT…

It’s not bad actually. Couple of “what the actual fuck” tracks, couple I really like with everything else coming somewhere in-between. Oh and there are some seriously dodgy lyrics in evidence here, but on the whole I like it. Even the tracks I originally thought were not that great have grown on me with repeated listens and, in summary, it’s a decent album and I’ve heard worse, much worse, recently.

Things start off with the usual cliched orchestral attempt at setting the scene. You know the kind of thing with strings, a horn and some viking types chanting o00w-aaaahh as they row their mighty longship. Typical death-metal-does-atmosphere stuff that fills a couple of minutes while you wait for the hell to break loose.

But when the promised hell arrives it’s not what you would expect. At all. Too Extreme! has a repetitive, almost Combichrist-esque industrial beat as the band tell you that, in effect, they’re Too Extreme!. I mean if you have to point that out, how extreme are you actually ?? I can just imagine the look on the average Death Metal fan’s face at this point as they reach for the “off” switch then head over to Facebook to exercise their keyboard ninja skills on the RIP Morbid Angel page šŸ™‚ OK, so it’s not, in all fairness, a great track by any stretch of the imagination but it does let you know that you something different is afoot.

And hey, we’re only just getting going….

After that the band head back towards familiar territory with Existo Vulgore showing much more traditional leanings which continue through the actually quite good Blades For Baal as the Death Metal band you all know and love come out to play.

Things take another weird turn with the oddly self referential I Am Morbid, just in case the new musical direction threw you and you weren’t sure who you were listening to. Ignoring the “god aren’t we good” lyrics (in fact, probably best ignore a lot of the lyrics on this album) this is another decent track, slow and heavy with some decent riffs and a neato chant-along chorus that will annoy the purists.

Having said all that in the interests of balance and positivity, Destructos Vs. The Earth / Attack may just be a step too far, think Slipknot meets Rob Zombie meets Marylin Manson. Now I’m partial to a bit of at least two out of three of those but it does go on a bit (7 minutes plus). Seriously, I still see nothing here to hate, I mean not really.. Maybe not like a lot but definitely not hate.

The poster-boy for all the haters of this album is another massively self referential track with the slightly naff title of Radikult, you know, Radical and Cult but with, erm, a K to make it more “street” (I have no idea what that means). Much has been made of the (frankly fucking stupid) lyrics and hippity-hoppity vibe and with shouty-rappy lines like “we’ve been crossing the line since 1989” and “we’ll always be maniacal and animal” it’s not difficult to figure out why. But then again most rappers aren’t exactly Peter Hammill when it comes to lyricism.

Although I do hope I’m mishearing and that’s not a “Cop Killer” refrain going on in there, you decide šŸ˜‰

As far as I can see the main charge against Illud Divinum Insanus is that it doesn’t sound like a Morbid Angel album and I get that, I really do. I also get the disappointment from die hard fans of the band wanting more of the same. It’s just that after 20 years of putting that out maybe they just fancied a change? It has the odd flash of greatness (10 More Dead) but even through the most rose tinted of glasses the majority of the Death Metal moments aren’t up there with large swathes of their pre-turn-of-the-century output.

But it’s still a decent enough album with some good tracks and (potentially) a fairly broad appeal.

Like I said, there is worse, much worse, stuff out there for you to direct your vitriol against should you feel the need. Morbid Angel have done something brave and different and as a result are taking an unbelievable amount of flack which is all getting a bit silly. As Anthrax once said “you don’t have to listen if you don’t want to hear”, if you want to listen to something that sounds like “old school” Morbid Angel then go and listen to “old school” Morbid Angel, or check out the new Hate Eternal, Obscura, Origin or Abysmal Dawn efforts. There’s enough brilliant Death Metal appearing at the moment to keep everyone happy.