Illud Divinum Insanus: The Remixes
Season of Mist/Riot! Entertainment
Reviewed By Simon Crawley
A good idea in theory...and that’s about it
The precursor to this monstrous double-CD release from Florida’s death metal legends struck a divide amongst listeners. The heavy metal community had been waiting eight years for the next Morbid Angel album and the long-awaited arrival of 2011’s Illud Divinum Insanus left many diehard fans profoundly disappointed but also a handful of critics impressed by the band’s change in direction. With massive techno beats and booming drones having found a place amidst Morbid Angel’s return to the fray, it proved to be just a taste of what was to come.
Illud Divinum Insanus: The Remixes is over three hours (including the eight tracks on the digital dropcard) of remixed versions of the original album’s songs by various techno and dubstep artists. Experimenting with dance and techno music is not an entirely new venture for Morbid Angel who hired Slovenia’s Laibach for the Laibach Remixes back in 1994. Thus, if Illud Divinum Insanus was any kind of indication that the band had embraced their long absence from the recording studio by returning to past experiments then The Remixes is definitive proof that Morbid Angel are trying very hard to reinvent themselves – perhaps a little too hard.
Accompanying the legendary Trey Azagthoth (guitar) and David Vincent (bass guitar, keyboard, vocals) in the making of Illud Divinum Insanus were new recruits Tim Yeung (drums) and Thor Anders Myhren a.k.a. Destructhor (guitar). It had been eight years since Morbid Angel’s last studio album and the anticipation couldn’t have been more palpable. Amidst such expectation, Morbid Angel could not have surprised listeners more than with the direction they decided to take with the 2011 release. Vincent’s return definitely brought with it a sense of revival as Azagthoth’s guitar wizardry and the band’s searing intensity managed to help forge some solid tracks on Illud Divinum Insanus. But, it was the huge move towards techno and electronica that ultimately undermined the album in its entirety.
Ultimately, if Illud Divinum Insanus had been a sturdy return to form with Morbid Angel hitting back with some solid death metal then a remix would be all very well. But, to go from one extreme to the next is both disappointing and disheartening. Let’s stop to consider the forgettable ‘I Am Morbid’ – a filler track which ends up being remixed a staggering 12 times on The Remixes. So, to put it another way: 12 out of 39 tracks are remixes of one already profoundly average song. I did, however, quite enjoy the remixed versions of ‘Too Extreme’ and then there are some moments where Azagthoth’s riffs are infused quite nicely with the explosive techno beats and blasts (see the remixed ’10 More Dead’ especially the one by Black Strobe and Tek-One).
Out of a sickly 39 tracks, there are but a handful of decent ones. This album was completely overdone and it’s a shame because with greater refinement it could’ve worked. However, having said that, my love for death metal runs deep and I have a hard time appreciating bastardised versions with techno and dance music grafted onto its beautiful roots.