Personally I disagree with the opinion that Metalheads are a difficult-to-please lot. It's so very easy to make us happy. Look at this Thrash Metal revival, or BLACK SABBATH's reformation as HEAVEN & HELL, or the massive renaissance of old school-style Death Metal. With the rise of the internet as a platform for our disparate, fractured and dissenting opinions, the fevered cries of fanboys and the solemn putdowns of purists, it isn't hard to tell what we generally do and don't like. So it's hard to understand why bands keep fucking up like this.
This review is split into two main parts; discussion of the Death Metal songs, and the non-Death Metal songs. Let's talk about that latter issue first, since you're nearly nine minutes into “Illest Divine Anus“ (as “Global Domination“ might call it, and boy am I looking forward to the Audio Autopsy this sucker turns up on) before you hear any Death Metal. Yup.
Parte the Firste. I can handle the menacing synthesized creep of “Omni Potens“ as an intro - it's better than a lot I've heard, including just about every previous one by MORBID ANGEL. Would be great on an album by, say, SEPTIC FLESH, or DIMMU BORGIR. But then “Too Extreme! “ (a song apparently so extreme, additional punctuation was necessary in its naming) starts up, and computerized effects, computerized drums, and computerized vocals are sterilizing everything in sight, until all I can think of is a music video with David Vincent doing crane style in a white jumpsuit and wraparound shades. Then there's “I Am Morbid. “ Is it the plodding Rap Metal beat or the twattish Rock leads which aggravate me the most? I just can't decide. And “Destructos VS. The Earth/ Attack.“ Cut to John Malkovich in “Burn After Reading“: "What the ffffffffuuck?" By the time I heard this, “Illest Divine Anus“ had become not just a disappointment, but a fucking insult.
Just as a little qualifier, I've no problem with a bit of Industrial Death Metal (I don't mind THE AMENTA) or with bands reinventing themselves (I love everything by DARKTHRONE). But when a band reinvents themselves by playing a shitty derivative form of Electronic Techno-Rock unrelated in any way to styles or ideals previously stood for, they can fuck off. The Kerrang-friendly dreck that is “Radikult“ and “Profundis - Mea Culpa“ (latin for 'We're really, really sorry. Profoundly") provide a ridiculous end to a pretty stupid album.
Anyway. Parte the Seconde. Although you already know you don't want this, there are also some Death Metal songs here. “Nevermore“ is still a great song. It is also now three years old and shouldn't be the only thing really worth hearing from the new album. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it is. Since you've all heard it, I'll move on and allow you to form conclusions. “Existo Vulgore“ sounds like a reject from “Heretic“. I was um, honoured enough to hear this played live for the first time (at an admittedly awesome show in May 2011 - easily the best thing to come of this album along with the "Hitler's Reaction" video on Youtube). Despite how repetitive some slower moments are, “Blades For Baal“, co-penned by DestrucThor, features a great guitar solo and blazing drumming by Tim Yeung. Same goes for “10 More Dead“ - mostly dull chugga-chugga, great solo break.
All in all, were there a couple more like this rather than the bullshit described above, this would be a take-it-or-leave-it Death Metal album with a weak guitar sound (again) under any other bandname, a letdown for MORBID ANGEL. As it is, the mediocrity of most of the album is actually made offensive by the frequent moments of outright awfulness.
Honestly bizarre. I mean, it has been the first four albums that have given this group of Floridians an increasingly wider fan base, young converts joining all the time. Hasn't it? Or was it the possibility that, if we buy enough of their old releases, they might come back and do an album that sounds like RAMMSTEIN jamming with songs from “Heretic” - 'cause that's what we REALLY want, isn't it...
I suppose it's even worse that, with Vincent's return, the album is in some ways a successor to “Domination“, one of the best fucking Death Metal albums you can own. And this is what they follow it with: artwork pinched from BEHEMOTH, intro stolen from DIMMY BURGERS, songs stolen variously from RAMMSTEIN, BODY COUNT, GOLDFRAPP and MARILYN MANSON and lyrics stolen from N.W.A. albums like this don't deserve any more time than it takes to shit all over them in a review. I shall be moving on in much the style of Charlie Sheen's Tweeted reaction when one of his "goddesses" briefly abandoned him:
"Olson has left the building... We're sad... Over it... Applications now being accepted."
The tour shirt is pretty sweet though.
(Online August 4, 2011)