Illud Divinum Insanus Review

artist: Morbid Angel date: 12/09/2011 category: compact discs
Morbid Angel: Illud Divinum Insanus
Released: Jun 6, 2011
Genre: Experimental Death Metal, Industrial, Hardcore Techno
Label: Season Of Mist
Number Of Tracks: 11
The Ancient Ones return after eight years with a new arsenal of sounds and a peculiar vision for their music.
 Sound: 6
 Lyrics: 4.3
 Overall Impression: 5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (4) 40 comments vote for this album:
overall: 3
Illud Divinum Insanus Reviewed by: UG Team, on june 09, 2011
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: Morbid Angel's circumstance in the years since 2003's "Heretic" has been swamped with ambiguity. The exit of perennial sore thumb Steve Tucker and David Vincent's heroic return to the stage are perhaps the only major events from eight otherwise derelict years of rumours and conjecture. PVC cowboy look notwithstanding, Vincent remains an icon and like Dickinson to Maiden, Halford to Priest, only with his involvement as frontman could Morbid Angel ever hope to work at the highest level. The band has now sprung to life and for the first time in sixteen years, David Vincent and Trey Azagthoth have pooled their efforts and made an album together. Predictably, it's no masterpiece. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is a confused and messy effort with little claim to a prevailing force or artistic direction. The death metal on offer is tight and well-produced but rarely transcends the middleweight purgatory of "Heretic" or "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh". Competent, occasionally interesting but nothing that would bring average Joe unsigned more than a round of polite applause. There are exceptions, namely the tunes penned by new guitarist Destructhor, who seems to have a good handle on the way chromatic melody looked to push and pull in the band's classic era; "Blades For Baal" has urgency and dynamic push to it while "10 More Dead"'s enviable groove does at times echo 1995's "Domination". Azagthoth, too, seems to have some life left in him with a number of fantastically creative guitar solos. But this album holds a dark, disgusting secret. The writing was on the wall from the moment the tracklisting was released. Drum machines, industrial noises, bleeps, bloops and "Destructos"; that's right, the floodgates have opened and seven seas of shit have been let loose on Morbid Angel. Fed into the album with a cruel evenness is the influence of hardcore techno, specifically speedcore, terrorcore and gabber. Now these are names as familiar to the average metal fan as black metal to a clubber, but know they are styles often crafted and appreciated specifically for their extremity. And as we know, Morbid Angel are a band who have a reputation for changing things up in the pursuit of extremes, so it's a match made in heaven, right? Well, death metal purism aside, the band's attempt to mediate and combine the aggressive samples and noises with their own guitar tone and vocal style has sucked the extremity right out of both. Only closing track "Profundis Mea Culpa" really achieves the desired effect on any level, and by that point the listener is already disinterested. In both death metal and hardcore techno, Morbid Angel are simply hammering away at a wall that has already been pounded to dust. // 4

Lyrics: The point at which this album ceases to be a misfire and slips into the realm of embarrassment is when you consider the lyrics. They simply defy belief, from the botched Latin of the album title to the child-like "Destructos Vs. The Earth" to the chest-thumping, leg-humping disaster that is "Radikult". Many tracks particularly "Radikult" and inane foot-stomper "I Am Morbid" seem to be written as motivational exercises for the band and their hardcore faithful, and for a man well into middle age David Vincent does have the power left in his voice to force the message home, but there are few fans out there who wish to hear it. What's worse is that the infantile subject matter and embarrassing lack of subtlety is constructed by verse not entirely devoid of sophistication. Vincent can find his way around the English language well enough; why he'd use it to inform us that he's been "banging hardcore radical" nobody's quite sure, but there are brief glimpses of competent lyricism in there, persistently spoilt by lines like "Demanding nothing less but to make you scream/we're too extreme" or "Their juices wind and rain... insane!" Turgid rhymes, mind-numbing repetition - absolutely awful. // 2

Overall Impression: All in all then, not a classic. Incorporating industrial and dance elements is a very brave move but the band haven't really gone the distance with their concept, leaving the controversial tracks in amongst the more conventional ones, plain as day. It fails to play like a death metal album, fails to play like an electronic album and fails too as a cohesive hybrid. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is meant to be extreme music for extreme people, but unfortunately I'm sat at a desk with a mug of tea in a comfortably lit room, and I'm not feeling particularly extreme; nowhere around are there ravaged animal carcasses, semi-conscious hookers or paintings on linen canvas, sketched out with sky blue Crayola and detailed with my own faeces. Maybe it's not for me, then, but let's face it - it's probably not for you, either. // 3

- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2011

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overall: 7.7
Illud Divinum Insanus Reviewed by: genolk, on june 09, 2011
1 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sound: The long awaited/anticipated Morbid Angel album with legendary death metal front man David Vincent filled me at once with both fear and excitement. Why? Because like all "reunion" style albums they are usually either just passable or just tragic. Sadly (or luckily?) "Illud Divinum Insanus" falls into the former. It is just passable. Sound wise everything is fantastic, Trey's guitar sound is as awesome as it ever was, Destructhor's solos are easily distinguishable, Dave's bass is there in all its glory as are his vocals and Tim Yeungs drums thunder along like a steam train at midnight. You are able to tell that it isn't "Commando" "Pete Sandoval behind the kit purely by the techniques. Not that this detracts from the sound but those of us who were really drooling at a complete joining of the 3 amigos from the Covenant era might feel short changed. Everything is crisp and tight and the production has everything sounding like it should. Otherwise as I said everything sounds good. No Pete drumming. // 8

Lyrics: Lyrics are the usual Morbid Angel fair. Lots of mystique, folklore and witchery. Nothing new, just what you would expect of Morbid Angel. As with any death metal style record the lyrics are suitable dark enough for the type of music that is being played. Singing about flower arrangements wouldn't suit the kind of blast beat filled mayhem that is can be found here. Dave Vincent's vocals sound more in line with "Domination" delivery... More voice, less throat. Personally I would have like a little bit more throat. But that being said he delivers with aplomb and in any style his voice sounds as good as ever. More throat please. // 8

Overall Impression: The fact that Pete Sandoval unfortunately had to undergo surgery to fix his back and therefore couldn't perform on this record is a let down. But obviously a mans health far outweighs anything else. However all through the album it does feel like something is missing. Trey and Destructhor's shredding is a delight through out. Sadly for me it isn't completely a return to form (were they ever out of form?) You be the judge but as great as it is to have Dave Vincent back I feel Morbid Angel has missed a trick. I guess it depends on what you prefer. Early melody driven Morbid Angel or post modern faster is better Morbid Angel. The instrumental interludes that intersperse most Morbid Angel records are lacking here, and electronic sounds are great for B-sides, not a death metal record. Album low point... The song "Radikult" is just woeful. It gave me the same kind of vibe I felt the day I first heard "Ain't My Bitch" from Metallica. A mixture of grief and despair. Album high point: "Nevermore". A song that will doubtless stay entrenched in the set list for many years to come. Overall this is a solid effort from one of the pioneers of death metal. It won't cheapen their catalog but it probably won't be remember as one of their greatest efforts. Maybe a few more playlist repeats will she'd more light on the intricacies but first impressions are not looking good. Most of the songs will sit nicely in the live set list and the song "Nevermore" is quite excellent but after 8 years and the re-introduction of Messer Vincent I was hoping for a little bit more. More melodies and instrumental interludes please. // 7

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overall: 3.3
Illud Divinum Insanus Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 09, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'm gonna say it right now: this album is terrible, laughable even, if it didn't come from one of the biggest names in death metal. I'm also gonna come clean right off the bat with my honest opinion of Morbid Angel in general. The only reason I mention this is because it will lead me to an important point toward the end of my review: I never really could get into the band. (BOO!!! YOU HERETIC!! YOU DISGUSTING FOOL! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!? YOU SUCK! YOU DON'T LIKE REAL DEATH METAL! F**K YOU! TREY AZAGOTH THIS! DAVID VINCENT THAT! COVENANT AND ALTARS AND BLESSED AND BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!!) Now you don't have to make a negative comment about that, right? You do? Well, f**k you. The sound. In terms of overall quality, it's ok. The guitars are present, the bass is present, and the techno/industrial elements, though sometimes cheesy sounding, often times don't even sound that bad. In fact, I'll be one of the first in line to commend Morbid Angel for trying something new! I'll also be one of the first to condemn Morbid Angel for taking an idea that could have been revolutionary on paper and turned it into, well, take your pick from words for doo-doo. While some of the song formatting is kind of cool and there are some catchy moments on the album, my biggest problem is the drumming. Or should I say, the use of technology to loop a simple idea over and over until you want to pull your hair out. And who's the drummer these days? None other than Tim Yeung, one of the most awesome drummers in modern metal. I mean, my God! I'm pretty sure I've seen him play blast beats with one foot! And you, Morbid Angel, refuse to take full advantage?!? SHAAAAME! I mean, there are some moments of kick-ass drums, but they are too far and few between for my taste, and I do understand the need to hold back sometimes. But holding back doesn't have to consist of looping the same lame backing track over and over for an entire verse. Ugh. There are some glimpses of the classic death metal style in there too. It's just that the riff writing on those seems pretty damn lazy. It's bad, but not total ear sodomy. // 5

Lyrics: Remember a few seconds ago when I told you this album was not sonic ear sodomy? That's because it's lyrical ear sodomy. Ohhhh God, the lyrics. And the pseudo-rap. And David Vincent, um, not being David Vincenty enough. Yeah you know where this is going. If I could write a commercial for these lyrics, the script would look like this: (CORNY FIFTIES MUSIC) Are you tired of lyrics that mean something? Tired of lyrics that bash Christianity in a clever yet defiant way? Tired of dark lyrics about true evil! So is Morbid Angel! That's why they've decided to stop caring about their lyrics entirely for their new album, Illud Divinum Insanus! Check it out! You'll hear such weak sh*t as: (Lyrics scroll up the screen) "Kill a cop cop kill a cop kill a kill a kill a cop" "Laser vision has monitored for centuries/We've gathered evidence/ We know that you are diseased" "...Make you scream we're too extreme" "...Their juices wind and rain... Insane" "...Crossing the line, since 1989!" "WE ARE MORBID!" And other lame attempts at lyric writing to make you cringe in shame at the fallen status of a once legendary band! Illud Divinum Insanus! Here's what people are saying! "...EVEN THE SONG TITLES ARE RIDICULOUS!! Ten More Dead, I can understand. Radikult, THE F*CK IS THAT?!?!?!?"-Coverkillernation Order your complete sh*t today! Yeah, I wouldn't want to buy the album either. There are some redeeming lyrics, to be fair, particularly on Nevermore. But, overall, I'm pretty sure I wrote better stuff in the sixth grade. You know, back when Slayer scared me. // 2

Overall Impression: How do I say this without putting the stereotypical swearing sailor to shame? Boy this is going to be difficult considering I'm probably bordering on the unstated cuss limit here. Oh boy. Well, let me put it to you this way: IT SUCKS. IT SUCKS IT SUCKS IT SUCK IT SUCKS IT SUCKS. Weak writing, weak playing, weak...EVERYTHING! I'M PRETTY SURE MY GRANDMA COULD BEAT UP THIS ALBUM IF IT WAS A PERSON. GAAAAAAAAA! What will Morbid Angel do in the future? Well, hopefully not this. Like I said, the idea sounded awesome on paper, and if they do continue down this road, I hope they improve their lyrics and stop writing such half-assed riffs. Throwing in techno sounds here and there do not make lazy riffage "avant garde." Oh, and remember when I said I could never really get in to Morbid Angel? This album changed that? How could a record so bad do that? When this first came out, there was some serious outrage with fans and I myself found it quite repulsive and, while it did honestly did grow on me a tiny bit, I found myself looking through Morbid Angel's discography to see exactly why so many people were so upset. And now I think I have a bit of a better understanding, I even have found my favorite Morbid Angel record. It's Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. (Insert more booing and b*tching about how Steve Tucker isn't David Vincent here.) Morbid Angel, if by some random, miniscule chance one of you or one of your managers is reading this, look back at your body of work. I know this techno/industrial/death metal clusterf*ck is probably the sound you're going to stay with. All that I ask is that you bust your balls to make sure it doesn't blow nearly this hard. You've had your Risk (Heretic) and your St. Anger (This Abomination) now give us a New and everlasting Covenant, that will be for us AND for the industrial crowd so that Illud will be forgiven. An album that will go down in history as a the correct interpretation a great concept, redemption. Tall order, you probably can't fill it. Prove me wrong, Morbid Angel. Prove. Me. Wrong. // 3

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overall: 6.3
Illud Divinum Insanus Reviewed by: ThrashUnleashed, on august 26, 2011
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Alright, alright, people. Stop crying over this album. Now, to start off, let me say that I've never been huge on Morbid Angel. I listened to Covenant and Altars of Madness, and thought "It's pretty good." I'd probably take Dying Fetus or Autopsy over it most days. But when I heard Insanus was more Industrial, I needed to listen to it. I'm a huge Marilyn Manson fan, and I love Fear Factory. So I guess unlike most Death Metal fans as a mass, I'm not a one-trick horse who hates everything but Metal. So yeah, I enjoyed this album. I think that Morbid Angel are better at playing Death Metal, but this was an enjoyable album for me. They took in well to the new sound, and I think "Radikult" is a pretty great song; definetly my favorite. It's definetly one of the least Death oriented and leaning way to the side of all-out Industrial Rock. But disregarding past albums, it's a good song. // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are definetly the thing on this albums, as well as the vocal style in general, that took it over the top and made it less and less what fans wanted. Definetly a sense of influence from White Zombie, I'd say. But once again, I don't have many complaints. I don't think Vincent's voice is best for this kind of music, but it flowed with the album to a certain degree, so... I'd let it slide. // 5

Overall Impression: So pretty much, as a Death Metal and Morbid Angel fan, it was a step down from past albums and I don't think they should do it again. As a fan of music in general, it was a good album, with a good amount of enjoyable songs and a few merely tolerable. I definetly think it was one of those albums where it's cool that they tried to experiment, they did a decent job at it, but it's unanimous that they need to stick with the traditional sound that all the die-hard, closed-minded fans will comply with. // 7

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