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On disc: Morbid Angel

Illud Divinum Insanus - Mike Thompson - 3 stars

Illud Divinum Insanus

Illud Divinum Insanus
(Season Of Mist - 2011)

Morbid Angel is a name synonymous with death metal with a career at the top of the genre spanning the better part of thirty years. For years they have stood unwavering and steadfast in unabashed brutality, unconcerned about trends and with an undeniably loyal fan base. 2011 is the year in which this changes.

There have been numerous bands that have changed style and unleashed something completely different and unexpected. Most of these - Metallica's Load era and St Anger, Megadeth's Risk, Kreator's Renewal and Satyricon's post-Volcano albums, for example- have not been well received even if some of the albums have been good when taken as stand-alone and viewed separately from the band's previous works. Dissection's Reinkaos album, for example, is looked on with disdain by many of the band's fans despite actually being an excellent melodeath album. So the question is, what happens when Morbid Angel incorporate industrial and electronic elements into their music? In this case, the answer is... a complete travesty.

On this album Morbid Angel have taken a huge step into electronic music whilst all the while looking back at the death metal roots from which they spawned. Being neither a true death metal album, nor a true industrial metal album Illud Divinum Insanus is a sub-par, lackluster album at best and a steaming pile of rancid dog shit at worst.

So lets look at this latest album, the band's eighth, as a stand alone album. Lets pretend its not Morbid Angel. Ok, this is an industrial metal album with heavy overtones of death metal. Unfortunately the industrial and electronic sections of this album are uninspired, bland and repetitive. Imagine the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Ministry writing really crap songs (c'mon, its not difficult...). Now, imagine that these songs were thrown away and an average death metal band happened to find and record them. This is the level of industrial metal we're taking about. It really is appalling. Now, add in some lame hip-hop style lyrics about killing cops and being the 'Radikult' and you start to get an idea of just how bad this album is.

There are some death metal sections too. Unfortunately these aren't exactly classics either. Just take a listen to Existo Vulgare or Blades For Baal and you'll soon appreciate that as good as they sound amidst the surrounding dross on this album, they're actually just fairly average death metal tracks.

Opeth's Mikael ┼kerfeldt, in a recent round of Morbid Angel arse-kissing from famous extreme metal artists in relation to the new album, does "appreciate and respect bands doing new things, progressing". However, the point is that this album does not do new things nor does it progress. Marilyn Manson did better songs in a similar style 15 years ago and, I'm sorry, but there's is nothing progressive about this. Unless progressive means boring, uninspired, over-long shite, in which case yes its definitely progressive.

On the one hand I guess you could applaud Morbid Angel for not releasing 'just another' death metal album but the problem is that what they have come up with, regardless of whether you like industrial, electronic or death metal, is actually just really, really bad. This rehash of other artist's aged ideas is not something to be praised in any way, shape or form. This is not worth your time and certainly not your money. Even for those who deem themselves in possession of such a thing as an open mind there is far better music out there. File this one under Monumental Cockup and have done with it.

3 stars

Mike Thompson


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