[Release Review] MORBID ANGEL – Illud Divinum Insanus (Season of Mist)

Eight years we have waited. I wish I had never heard this album.

MORBID ANGEL is one of those keystone death metal bands. Well, they were. Their last few releases have been lacklustre, and yet fans are loyal as hell because everybody has his or her favourite album. Despite minor disappointments in past years, the wait between their last release, Heretic (2003) and their new one Illud Divinum Insanus has been massive.

And oh my god, it could not have been more disappointing. In reference to the title,’it is insane’ is correct. Insane that a band with a history like Morbid Angel would even consider releasing an album like this.

When you mention Morbid Angel to anybody, people familiar with the band think ‘death metal’. In fact, they consider themselves ‘extreme music’ now, with no reference to metal at all. When you hear Illud Divinum Insanus, you will understand.

There are only maybe three death metals track on this album. For the majority of it, you would consider the release to be industrial techno.

Disappointed? Oh my lord. That’s hardly the word for it. I had to listen to this album several times. If I weren’t reviewing it, I would have heard it once and then given it to the neighbour’s kid to throw to his dog.

There’s a huge element of GENITORTURERS here, possibly unsurprising given DAVE VINCENT (vocals/bass for Morbid Angel) is a former member of that band. And it’s Vincent’s first release with Morbid Angel for 16 years.

But that track, Radikult, can most clearly be aligned with MARILYN MANSON. And not in a good way. It’s Marilyn Manson’s poor, undernourished cousin.

For the most part, the production is terrible, the vocals are too high in the mix, the drum sound is awful (seriously, don’t employ a drummer, just get a drum machine, it’s an insult to all drummers), the lyrics are frankly slightly retarded. And what were they doing with I Am Morbid? It’s not an anthem, guys, it’s ridiculous.

Welcome to your new religion / new religion / new religion / …. too extreme

Morbid / Morbid / I’m celebrating Morbid

Destructos… march. / No mercy from detonation / No mercy from destructonation

We start with an appetite insatiable / We are the Radikult

And so on. Come on, “destructonation”? I’m all for poetic license, but that’s just silly. I’m not even going to explore the remainder, I can’t stomach it.

The only redeeming features of the album are the intro, the track Blades for Baal which is ok, and the track Nevermore is also only ok and not good. These are the only tracks worth listening to. Throughout the release you get some nicely written and performed leads – but that is all.

Fearing that my reaction to this album was slightly over-the-top negative, I did take the liberty of playing the promo to one or two friends who are big Morbid Angel fans. I wish I could paint the looks on their faces in words. Nothing quite describes the pale shock, wide-eyed horror, and unspeaking illness they countenanced. The listening was accompanied by such comments as:

‘What. the. F***?’

‘This is f***ing terrible.’

‘You’re kidding, right? It’s a joke?’

And so on.

I must admit that if this release had been a side-project; if it had come from another band; if it were in no way associated with the Morbid Angel ‘branding’, then my reaction would have been vastly different. I’m sure it will have some appeal to fans of extreme industrial techno.

To be fair, you can hear very, very faint reflections of some elements of Domination in this release, especially the title track. But that was from 1995; their last release, Heretic is in another (more satisfying) realm altogether from Ilud Divinum Insanus. I am guessing that most Morbid Angel fans, on hearing Ilud Divinum Insanus, will be absolutely horrified.

I know I was. I foresee uproar.

Few bands have dropped as low as this. CELTIC FROST’s Cold Lake is generally considered absolutely terrible, but it is a masterpiece in comparison to this album. Morbid Angel fans are loyal, but I really doubt that they are so loyal as to consider listening to anything released after this album. I doubt any band can stoop this low and resurrect itself in the eyes of the majority of its fanbase.

I’m even going to go so far as to say that, if you’re a pirate-minded death metal fan, don’t waste your time downloading this one. It’s not worth the data you’d spend getting it to your desktop.

Finally, before I end this rant, I just have to say that these words in the promo text:

When Mr. Vincent departed before “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh” (1997) the fans were shocked, but Trey continued to explore his musical genius…

… are just insulting. There’s no way in hell that anything like this could be considered ‘genius’.

MORBID ANGEL’s Illud Divinum Insanus is out 6 June 2011 on Season of Mist.

This review first appeared in the Dutch magazine Alternative Matter. Click here to see it.

5 thoughts on “[Release Review] MORBID ANGEL – Illud Divinum Insanus (Season of Mist)

  1. I wais i had not heard it also, and i wish i had not spent money on it, a f***ing discgrace by one of the best metal bands ever…Nile is the way now..

  2. The official release date’s today – what are the chances that the promo was a joke and the REAL album will blow everyone away? Cos, y’know, that’s the only excuse.

  3. Everything said is true. This album sucks worse than anything I have heard in a loooong time.
    If Morbid Angel weren’t dead before they are now.

  4. I haven’t listened to this album yet, as the promos were all beeped and I’ve been kinda busy moving country. BUT I have to say I’m not surprised. Before the Morbid Angel sets in Australia last year the house music was drum and bass. The crowd was not impressed, but people were talking about electonic music being Trey’s special interest. Such a shame.

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