The Angry Scotsman
Oh man, where to begin with this one?
Well, this was the first Morbid Angel release in 8 years, and the first to feature classic member David Vincent in 16 years. So there was quite a lot of buzz throughout the metal world about it. The first thing I heard about it was on the cover of a magazine at my record store, before the CD released, calling it the band's "most controversial" album yet. I assumed it would be lyrically controversial, but as it turned out the music was the culprit. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is a radical departure from the band's discog, and was quickly hailed as "the new St Anger". While I, kind of, enjoy that album I get the comparison: This album was a colossal let down and "WTF?" for fans. Though while St Anger may be reviled by fans, at least you can see what Metallica was trying to do..."Illud Divinum Insanus" left us stumped even there.
So almost one year later, all the dust has settled and I can get to my review. It's terrible. Now I will say, I am not really a fan of Morbid Angel or most death metal in general, which allows me a pretty impartial listen. Since it's not really my cup of tea, another Morbid Angel death metal album would have almost certainly gotten a 2 by default, (at the lowest). This is worse though...as a metal fan in general this album is just heinous.
There is death metal to be found, more than it may seem from some reviews, but there are dives into industrial metal, as well as nu metal and frankly the death metal that is present just sounds like crud. The production is terrible, the guitars sound low in the mix and just not very good. The drums sound like absolute crap, I thought it was done by drum programming at first...really I was shocked to see a human played them. The vocals are pretty bad. So even if there are good death metal songs here, I'd still be turned off by how poor they sound. Of course, being death metal, they are bland anyway.
"Omni Potens" starts the album and it's actually kind of cool. Synths and militaristic drumming gives it a real dark tone, backed by some campy sounding tribal chants and random yells.
Sadly, the fun intro kicks right into the mess. "Too Extreme" starts with a painfully simple riff and single note drum hits. Really, it's the playing of an 11 year old hitting the bass, snare and tom all at once over and over. This continues for most of the song with an industrial style noise and sample repeated throughout. It's boring, very boring. Forget how laughable it is. There's a reason industrial metal doesn't appeal to me and that's how repetitive and dull it is. The drums sound atrocious.
"Existo Vulgore" starts a bit of a throwback, and while it's good to see the band hasn't lost its musical skill, it's still bland. Extreme metal song, but again the guitar and drums sound so bad and the vocals seem to be a parody of death metal itself at times. Maybe death metal fans will like it, but others wont...it's very repetitive and boring. Solo is cool.
"Blades for Baal" is more of the same, and seems to be one of the highlights for MA fans. Straight up death metal, in all it's double bass, blast beat glory. Again it sounds horrid as do the vocals and is dull for me.
"I Am Morbid" starts off with a groovy riff, and isn't too bad. The same problems sneak up though, boring and crap vocals, and it's unrelenting with both.
"10 More Dead" is one of the better songs, as it builds from a groovy riff to thrashing death metal and blazing solos. Can't say I like this song, but it's tolerable.
"Destructos vs. the Earth / Attack" well we're back to industrial metal, like that name didn't imply it? More laughably simple riffs and drumming ensue for almost the entire 7 minutes and 15 seconds. I'm tired of hearing all those single note drum slams.
"Nevermore" this song was released early as a single, but more like a cruel joke...it's one of the more "normal" Morbid Angel style songs. Surely, fans must've heard this with some hope, just to be let down when hearing all of IDI. Standard death metal song, should be enjoyed by fans of such. As usual it doesn't do much for me thanks to its unrelenting nature, machine like chains of double bass and tremolo picking. For MA and death metal fans though, another of the "highlights".
"Beauty Meets Beast" simple, repetitive, boring, terrible sound. Next.
"Radikult" this song became the joke of the internet, and rightfully so as it's the most grievous offense on the album. Back to those super simple riffs and drumming. Ahhhh so much single note pounding! The sound of that bass drum is like the sound of my brain throbbing in agony. Vincent crappily screams on and on about how hardcore and br00tal the band is, seriously it's the death metal version of rap. Especially with the chorus of "kill a cop".
Vincent yelling "WE'RE LIVING HARDCORE AND RADICAL" will forever be burned into my memory. I think this song is a joke, literally. The lyrics are a pastiche of itself. This song is a joke of death metal and MA, self parody. I'll get back to all that later.
"Profundis - Mea Culpa" holy hell...we've entered a mortal combat game. That intro just leaves you waiting to hear Vincent yell "Ready? Fight!" There's some real slow, boring parts that are alternated with that video game thrash music. The fakest sounding drums yet, and the worst sounding guitars...they've saved the best for last!
Wow, I'm glad that's over. So here's what we got: A poor death metal album, an industrial metal album, and a nu metal album were each being shipped when their trucks collided. The mess of broken CD bits were then glued together randomly to make this album. That's my sincerest opinion and simplest description.
I question what Morbid Angel was attempting to do here, and how does Pete Sandoval, (sidelined from this album due to surgery) feel about it? Was this the band's honest intent? Was it an experiment? Did they get frozen in 2003, to wake up 8 years later and think they were still in '03 where industrial and nu metal were hot? I can't help but think back to "Radikult" and wonder if this whole album is a joke. A purposely done, anti Morbid Angel sound to challenge, (or upset) the fans.
Lyrics from "Radikult" such as: "The walls are high we know, they've gotta come down", "we've been crossing the line since 1989", "the radicals are here to stay", and "because the boundaries are coming down" make me wonder if they were indeed going for a totally in our face, anti MA sounding challenge. Push the boundaries of their music and fans? Maybe after 20+ years they were tired of death metal. Regardless of the reason, this must look like a middle finger to the long time fans. Only the future will tell what exactly the intent was with "Illud Divinum Insanus"