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Illud Divinum Insanus

Season Of Mist (2011)
Rating: 7/10

Reunited for live shows since 2004, David Vincent returns as the frontman / bassist for Morbid Angel, his first time in the post since May 1995’s Domination album and a welcome and unexpected treat for longtime fans. Founding member Trey Azagthoth is back and joined by guitarist Destructhor and new skinsman Tim Yeung. Illud Divinum Insanus is the band’s first album since September 2003’s Heretic and their first for new label home Season of Mist.

It should be noted that this album is being slated all over the internet, so much so that you’d think that Morbid Angel had delivered a stinkin’ pile of shit. I’m happy to say that the reports of Morbid Angel’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

The album opens with the standard fare for death metal albums, an “evil”-sounding intro piece. The band then launches into ‘Too Extreme!’, a quirky, industrial-ish number that is united in sound with a large chunk of the album. The song is kind of all over the place but the more I let it pulsate in my ears, the more it sounds like a marching anthem and the less it sounds like a Genitorturers tune. The same influence is firmly felt in the anthems ‘I Am Morbid’, ‘10 More Dead’, and ‘Destructos Vs. The Earth / Attack’ (my personal favourite simply due to how strange it is!). The punchy and bouncy sound of ‘Radikult’ has an Antichrist Superstar-era (October 1996) Marilyn Manson or early Rob Zombie vibe to it that longtime fans seem to “hear” as a lame attempt at rap rock but, honestly, I really dig the depth it gives the album by not allowing the album to get stale.

Although about half the album is laden with industrial influences (which I don’t mind at all), the other half basically picks up where Domination leaves off, save possibly for a little less energy. ‘Existo Vulgoré’ is a punishing track that certainly reminds you that Vincent’s semi-understandable vocal has been very much missed. ‘Blades For Baal’ is coupled with it and offers a little more of a groove and the break from the relentlessness of ‘Existo Vulgoré’ which makes said song seem a lot more punishing in context. ‘Nevermore’ (a song that they have been playing live for awhile now) is a great tune as well but fairly run of the mill in regards to what you were expecting this album to sound like (fast drums, swirling guitars, ripping solos, series of blended growls and screams, etc.). Oddly enough, ‘Nevermore’ may be what longtime fans wanted but in context it just seems like the band throwing them a bone. ‘Beauty Meets Beast’ is another groove-laden punisher that reminds you that Morbid Angel is every bit as good at laying grooves as they are playing at hyper-speed.

When David Vincent returned to Morbid Angel in 2004, I’m certain that fans everywhere thought a new album would be coming long before 2011. When considering that the band has been touring all over the world playing classic Morbid Angel material, it’s only natural to assume that the long-awaited Illud Divinum Insanus would be a return to form for these legends. In true Morbid Angel form though, they relaunched with their most diverse album to date. While diehard fans certainly have a lot to whine about here, they have failed to ask the most pertinent question of all…Would David Vincent bring some of the Genitorturers sound back with him? The answer, of course, is yes. I’m gonna disagree with most reviewers on this one and say that Illud Divinum Insanus is the sound of Morbid Angel allowing themselves to be multi-dimensional and I enjoy the result.

Mark Fisher

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