MORBID ANGEL — Kingdoms Disdained (review)

MORBID ANGEL — Kingdoms Disdained album cover Album · 2017 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Unitron
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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