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4.00 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2017

Filed under Death Metal


1. Piles of Little Arms (3:44)
2. D.E.A.D. (3:01)
3. Garden of Disdain (4:25)
4. The Righteous Voice (5:03)
5. Architect and Iconoclast (5:44)
6. Paradigms Warped (3:59)
7. The Pillars Crumbling (5:06)
8. For No Master (3:29)
9. Declaring New Law (Secret Hell) (4:21)
10. From the Hand of Kings (4:02)
11. The Fall of Idols (4:49)

Total time 47:43


- Scott Fuller / Drums
- Trey Azagthoth / Guitars, Keyboards
- Steve Tucker / Vocals, Bass

Additional musicians:
- Vadim / guitars (9)

About this release

Silver Lining Music, December 1st, 2017

Ken Coleman: Artwork
Erik Rutan: Producer

Recorded at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA.

Thanks to Vim Fuego for the addition and Unitron, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Kingdoms Disdained" is the 9th full-length studio album by US death metal act Morbid Angel. The album was released through Silver Lining Music in December 2017. It´s the successor to the much discussed and critizised "Illud Divinum Insanus" from 2011. There have been quite a few lineup changes since the predecessor as lead vocalist/bassist David Vincent has been replaced by Steve Tucker. The latter was also a member of Morbid Angel in the 1997-2001 and 2003-2004 periods and has recorded three albums with the band (the last being "Heretic" from 2003). Drummer Tim Yeung has been replaced by Scott Fuller (Abysmal Dawn, Havok, Annihilated), and guitarist Destructhor has also jumped ship. He hasn´t been replaced here, so guitarist and band leader Trey Azagthoth handles all guitars on "Kingdoms Disdained".

While "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)" probably made quite a few Morbid Angel fans scratch their head in disbelief, it was an experiment the band needed to do, but listening to "Kingdoms Disdained" it´s also obvious that Morbid Angel knew what their fans expected from them after their little experimental adventure and in that regard they chose the safe path this time around. So "Kingdoms Disdained" doesn´t feature any flirts with industrial metal or weird electronic music experiments, but instead features the trademark Morbid Angel death metal sound of the 1990s. It´s old school and brutal, but still rather complex and sophisticated death metal loaded with twisted riffs, screaming atonal solos (actually not as many as usual), brutal yet intelligible growling vocals, and quite a few tempo changes. It´s not easy listening death metal, and a few more catchy moments wouldn´t have hurt the overall accessibility of the album, but this is uncompromising death metal, so that´s more or less the premise and nothing unusual for the genre.

The material on the 11 track, 47:43 minutes long album is otherwise well written, intriguing, and powerful. Not quite in the league of their first four albums, but definitely on par with the other Tucker fronted releases and after the challenging experience of getting through "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)", it´s great to hear the band back on track, doing what they do best. The musicianship is as always on a high level. Tucker is not quite as distinct sounding as Vincent, but he is a pretty strong and commanding growler, and new drummer Scott Fuller delivers a powerful percussive attack. He has a great, and for the genre relatively varied drumming style. Azagthoth is...well Azagthoth. A lot of praises have been spoken of his inventive riffing style and solos over the years, and I can only join the choir here, and send more praise his way. As mentioned above a few more memorable and more straight forward riffs could have made some of the tracks a little more listener friendly, but on the other hand Azagthoth clearly does exactly what he feels is right for the music, and I always praise a bold and adventurous soul like Azagthoth.

"Kingdoms Disdained" features a dark, raw, and powerful sounding production, which is surprisingly organic since it´s Eric Rutan who is credited as producer on the project. I did not enjoy some of his early production jobs, but in recent years he has become quite a skilled producer. Some of the guitar riffs could have been more clearly defined as they sound a bit murky and low in the mix, but other than that "Kingdoms Disdained" sounds pretty great.

Upon conclusion "Kingdoms Disdained" is a high quality death metal release by Morbid Angel and a clear letter of content that the experiment of "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)" was a one-off. "Kingdoms Disdained" is not what I would characterize as a standout release in the band´s discography, but it´s an important album because of when it was released. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
The Pillars Crumbling...

Death metal pioneers Morbid Angel have finally returned with their first studio album since 2011's ill-received Illud Divinum Insanus. While I think that's a decent album for what it is, many fans didn't like the additions of an industrial sound and thought it was an overall weak effort. Frontman David Vincent has once again been replaced with the return of Steve Tucker, so fans probably didn't know exactly what to expect.

Thankfully, this is largely a return to the classic Morbid Angel sound that every old school death metal fan knows and loves. What you get is an absolute pummeling of brutal yet grooving riffing, constant machine gun drums, chaotic growls, and a couple fantastic new additions to keep it fresh. At times there are some massive syncopated grooves that wouldn't sound out of place on a Meshuggah album, and some classic rock/metal-styled guitar solos. In fact, the contrast between the crushing death metal grooves and almost 70's sounding guitar solos is my favorite part of the album.

"The Pillars Crumbling" is the best example of the aforementioned contrast. After the majority of the song crushes the listeners bones with its main crunching groove, the end of the song switches between pounding drums and kick ass solos that sound right out of a 70's or 80's guitar jam. As much as screeching death metal solos have their place, old school death metal mixes surprisingly well with even more old school guitar solos. Opener "Piles of Little Arms" also has one of these solos at the very end of the song.

Of course, the main focus of the album is absolutely crushing old school death metal of the best variety. Honestly, this is probably Morbid Angel's best album since 1993's Covenant. It's impossible to not headbang to pretty much the entire album, and it simply never lets up. Riff after riff, it's all represented well on the album cover. It's hard to pick highlights apart from "The Pillars Crumbling", which has easily become one of my favorite Morbid Angel tracks. "Garden of Disdain", "Architect and Iconoclast", and "Paradigms Warped" are a few of songs with some of the best and most massive grooves that the band has delivered. The latter especially has some killer bass lines, perfectly placed between walls of guitar sound.

Morbid Angel is back, and with one of the best modern death metal albums. Kingdoms Disdained blends the old school spirit with the brutality of bands like Nile and Meshuggah into a perfect mix. If you're looking for some crushing death metal that remembers what the genre is all about, this is an essential listen. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

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