I think this is one of the most difficult albums I've ever had to listen to and review. Or maybe even accept, as all that negativity that seems to embrace "Illud Divinum Insanus" creates prejudices straight away. I've been reading some reviews from metal archives already and man... It seems that people just hate this album. There are no good reviews at all! It's like a new competition - "who will throw more fucks on new Morbid album?" But I can understand some of the fans, who moan on Morbid Angel. They've been waiting years for the new album and of course the comeback of David Vincent, legendary frontman, who's been in the band in their prime time, were giving as much hope for great album as much worries of failing. Metal fan is weird being. He’s sometimes so hard to please. He may moan and moan like a child on a band simply because he thinks it’s cooler to do so and by that he can pretend to be that old schooler who’s into old cult LPs only and who'll never accept the new recordings from his legendary bands. Whatever they'll record, it will suck. Even if it doesn't. Some people will never be pleased. But the thing is, is the album so bad or people's hopes were too big? "St. Anger" was shite. Is "Illud Divinum Insanus" Morbid Angel's "St. Anger" then?
From band like Morbid Angel we had a biggest right to hope for the best. They're one of the best bands ever, their first three albums are CLASSICS and myself I've been growing up with them on my side. I was 12, when I bought "Blessed Are the Sick" and "Altars of Madness" and I loved these albums straight away. To this day I think that "Altars of Madness" is the most complete and best death metal album ever, with the best songs ever, the best riffs ever... And that artwork... I love it. Whatever Morbid Angel did on "Heretic" was a small let down (despite having such a killer track as "Enshrined by Grace"), of course it was, but the return of Vincent, all the gigs they've played, long waiting for the new album... I and everybody else were hungry for the best. But as every important album, it will create as many opinions and controversy as there are metalheads listening to it.
On my first listen to "Illud Divinum Insanus" I couldn't believe my ears. What the hell is that, I said and was very disappointed. But with every next listen I liked the album more and more. Of course there's this thing called industrial songs. Some call them fuckin techno. Well, Morbid guys love Laibach. I don't and I also hate these experimental tracks. I don't want to have them on my Morbid Angel album. To me Morbid Angel are death metal band, religion, I don't accept such things on the albums with their logo on it. "Too Extreme" is too shitty to even mention its role as the worst album opener in history of death metal. Few other songs in similar style are also a complete waste of my time and space on the CD. I wish they were all bad jokes. I guess I would be able to accept it if the album had just one such track, maybe for the end of the CD, "Radikult" for instance. I would swallow it and wouldn't worry so much. But I hate starting to listen to Morbid Angel's album from the third track on and then skip few others later. For all these songs I have ZERO tolerance and would give ZERO straight away. Luckily they're only (ONLY???) 35% of the album. The rest is death metal. And I love it.
Real death metal songs are luckily very good. Ha, to some point "Illud Divinum Insanus" has some of the best material Morbid Angel wrote since their "Domination" album. Yes, you've read it right. "Formulas..." and "Gateways..." are both great albums, but sometimes they lack real ferocity and speed. They tend to bore me with some fragments. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is much more diverse and catchy and brutal that these two putted together. Trey's riffs are fantastic. The man has his style and we all can recognize it straight away. New death metal songs are very classic and typical for Morbid Angel. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them. If you expected classic Morbid riffs, here they are. OK, maybe one song, which I'll write about soon, is a bit different, but rest of the material is all familiar. So, why do you moan? The riffing is just excellent and some riffs give thrills like real Morbid Angel riffs should. Real opener, "Existo Vulgoré", is great example for that. OK, it's not as good as many songs the band did in the past, even "Enshrined by Grace" that I mentioned earlier is better, but ain't it fast as hell, brutal and destructive that the walls fall down? Then there's "Blades for Baal" - blasting song, definitely the best one off the album, with memorable chorus and violence throughout. Pure death metal aggression in classic Morbid Angel's style; song which easily could have been taken from "Blessed Are the Sick" - so good it is. "I Am Morbid" is a song, which will bring a lot of controversy - even though this album doesn't need more controversy than it already has. This is the track, which as I mentioned earlier, comes with very untypical, un-morbid riffing. It's almost surprising in some parts. At the same time this is the song, which will sell fuckin' great live. It's not fast, it's not so brutal... It's groovy, with catchy moshable riffing and again simple, memorable chorus, that David will tell you to scream on gigs. I fuckin' bet you all will, even if now you moan how shitty this track is. Personally I find "I Am Morbid" as different, but surprisingly good.
"10 More Dead", "Nevermore" are another two great death metal songs. The first one is bit more epic, maybe in "Domination" and "Formulas..." style, it slowly crawls like a zombie coming out of the tomb... Man, this is the real Morbid Angel, again I can't understand why people moan! "Nevermore" is more melodic, but again great song, cool riffs. And so is "Beauty Meets Beast"... The only problem with this track is that it's the last death metal song on the album. The last two tracks are industrial ones, so here the album finishes for me. And that's the only problem I have with "Illud Divinum Insanus" - it hasn't got much to offer, basically only 6 tracks. That's it. Not so much for so many years of waiting. I think every fan should be disappointed by that.
As for the other aspects of "Illud Divinum Insanus"... David Vincent. The best death metal growler ever? Definitely yes, in my opinion at least. I love his voice, the work he did on early Morbid albums. He had the voice, which was different from the others and so good... Wait a sec. Did I write "had"? Fuck, he's still got it! The man is a beast. He still has that voice, so deep and vicious, maybe it's bit more understandable now, but anyway, it's fantastic to hear him again, especially that he didn't appear on too many death metal albums... I only wish he could sing on the previous albums also.
Finally Mr. Tim Yeung. I know that it's sad that Pete Sandoval couldn't play on the album, but fuck, Tim did excellent job here. I'm not fuckin drum expert, but definitely I can say his playing matches the quality level of rest of the band and for sure he's trying to play it like Pete would, with all these cool parts that complete Trey's riffing. Of course I already heard some brainless people, who moan even on the drumming on "Illud Divinum Insanus" and I only ask myself: "what the fuck??!!!". Do you have to complain on everything, even if there's nothing wrong with it, just for the sake of crying on your fuckin' forums? Shit. Hear me again - Tim Yeung played great parts on "Illud Divinum Insanus" and is worthy replacement for Pete Sandoval. End of story.
As I said this is difficult album. Difficult because of the high hopes everyone had and also because Morbid Angel are an exceptional band. I think it was obvious that "Illud Divinum Insanus" won't match the first three masterpieces, just like other old bands like Dismember or Deicide or Vader won't record anything as great as their early outputs. But at least those bands can try to deliver quality death metal that won't shadow their name with shame. Mostly they succeed. And Morbid Angel? Well, I'm torn apart between slashing them for the industrial shit they putted here and which doesn't deserve to be released under this moniker and between praising them for being able to deliver these six excellent death metal songs, despite being almost 50 years old and well over 20 on the scene. Difficult. "Illud Divinum Insanus" ain't classic album. There are no such amazing songs as "Immortal Rites", "Maze of Torment", "Rapture"... But "Illud Divinum Insanus" brings some new good songs, which I’ve enjoyed listening to and which will probably also kill in live environment. I'm pleased to be able to listen to the band together again with Vincent on vocals... If they haven't done those useless songs and actually focused on death metal... it would be great album. Instead we get half good / half shit album. My final rate will be 69, as I rather praise the good aspects of "Illud Divinum Insanus" rather than let the shit cover it with... shit he, he. But will I buy the vinyl, which I wanted to add to my collection? Sorry, but with so many great albums around I doubt that.