Formulas Fatal To The Cred?

[PHOTO BY ALEX SOLCA]

Horrible puns aside, it seems that Morbid Angel’s long-awaited comeback isn’t quite as well-received as many would have hoped. They have a new album coming out shortly, ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’, continuing the alphabetical trend of previous albums. It’s the first one from the band since 2003’s ‘Heretic’, which didn’t quite live up to expectations when it was released.

When news of a new album broke, people were excited. The death metal legends were finally returning, festival appearances are in the offing, and even drummer Pete Sandoval’s exit due to back injury failed to mute expectations. Tim Yeung is a more than capable replacement, and indeed, the hype machine was in full effect. Indeed, that’s where the story begins to go awry.

First of all, the album art was released, which in some quarters seemed to be described as a bad Photoshop job. It’s certainly not the bad-ass artwork many would expect from Morbid Angel, but let’s not judge a book by it’s cover. The first track to emerge from the album was ‘Existo Vulgoré’, which is a solid if slightly unspectacular track. David Vincent’s vocals certainly don’t sound like they used to, and it certainly doesn’t capture the classic Morbid Angel sound. But in my opinion, it’s far from dreadful, and let’s remember it’s just one song from the album.

But then this video (seen after the jump) emerged online, containing samples of all the tracks from the album, and the internet metal community seems to have exploded with outrage, disbelief, and a lot more besides. I, for the record, can’t claim to have heard these samples yet – I’ll certainly get round to it – but the reports are that these new songs contain a more ambient/industrial feel in certain places. People are up in arms over it, some saying Vincent’s time in the Genitorturers and Trey Azagthoth’s desire to incorporate techno/drum ‘n’ bass vibes into Morbid Angel’s sound are to blame. Some have even gone as far as to say this is the worst metal album since Cryptopsy’s ‘The Unspoken King’ – which needless to say needs no introduction in metal’s proverbial Hall of Horrors. And that promo photo (pictured above) isn’t doing them any favours either.

I was a bit of a latecomer to Morbid Angel, I’ll be perfectly honest. It took me a while to stop being lazy about it and actually get the bulk of their material checked out. Based on the one song alone…this is no ‘Altars of Madness’, or ‘Covenant’. It’s alright, but it’s not making me want to bring out the metal claw and hold it aloft. It doesn’t send me dizzy like ‘Bleed For The Devil’ does.

However…it’s just one song. The samples certainly don’t tell the whole story. Maybe the reaction from the fans is a result of the massive hype they placed on this record. Maybe it serves to highlight a closed-minded mentality amongst the metal community, as Trey once argued. But there’s a fine line between experimentation and downright buggery. Let’s see which side the coin falls on. Work of genius, or their very own ‘Cold Lake’? I’m prepared to keep an open-mind on this one.

The sample video follows the jump.

You can download ‘Existo Vulgoré’ via Morbid Angel’s label, Season of Mist.

‘Illud Divinum Insanus’ is released on Monday June 6th via Season of Mist

Peter Clegg

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