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MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 1:30 PM


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MORBID ANGEL
Kingdoms Disdained

Silver Lining Music




Now this is more like it. Six years after the divisive, wildly inconsistent and often utterly confounding Illud Divinum Insanus, MORBID ANGEL has come roaring back with Kingdoms Disdained, a rough-hewn, blunt-force, assaultive album that should wash away the bad taste of its predecessor - and prove just what an aberration it really was.

Though the question still remains just what the fuck the band was thinking with Illud, guitarist/mainman Trey Azagthoth obviously realized the error of MORBID ANGEL's ways and went about making things right. He scrapped the Illud lineup - dismissing two-time frontman/bassist David Vincent, guitarist Thor Anders “Destructhor” Myhren and drummer Tim Yeung – brought back former two-time vocalist/bassist Steve Tucker and got down to the business of making the sort of no bullshit death metal that used to be the band's forte.

Kingdoms Disdained harkens back to the turn-of-the-century Formulas Fatal To The Flesh/Gateways To Annihilation era and Tucker's first stint with the band, with its lean, mean, hack-and-slash approach and utter ferocity. Though Azagthoth's elegant, eccentric soloing remains, the riffs here are jagged, chaotic and vicious, and the tempos – driven by ex-ABYSMAL DAWN drummer Scotty Fuller's rivet-gun double bass rolls - consistently fast and furious.

The band shows it means business right off the bat with the grinding “Piles Of Little Arms” - marked by Tucker's breathless growl - and sticks with that mentality throughout. The instrumentals, interludes and other filler that often come as part of the MORBID package are noticeable in their absence here, and quite frankly aren't missed one bit. This is about as stripped down as the band has ever sounded – thanks in part from HATE ETERNAL/several time MORBID guitarist Erik Rutan's raw, primal production.

After the relatively slick and sleek work he did on the most recent CANNIBAL CORPSE album, Rutan strips away any semblance of polish here, giving Kingdoms a gritty, almost demo-quality sound that sometimes is a bit too ragged for its own good – as on slow-burn tracks like “Garden Of Disdain” or “Paradigms Warped” that lose a bit of their impact in the muddy mix. But on the more frantic and brutal “The Righteous Voice” and “The Fall Of Idols” or the swaggering “Architect Or Iconoclast” and “The Pillars Crumbling”, the live-like immediacy and fire will peel the skin right off your face.

All this, of course, is in marked contrast to the indulgent, ill-conceived grandiosity of Illud, with its electronic/industrial sheen, calculating anthemics, cheesy posturing and sheer ridiculousness. And while anything other than that would have been a step in the right direction, Azagthoth opted to hit the reset button instead of trying to repair the damage of Illud in half measures. So Kingdoms takes several steps back to get MORBID ANGEL moving forward again, which, in the end, was probably a smart – albeit safe - move.

For his part, Tucker definitely seems into it on his third go-round and gives an inspired, formidable performance – restoring menace and purpose to the MORBID attack that had begun to wane on his last album with the band, 2003's hit-and-miss Heretic. If there was any hesitance on his part about re-upping, you'd never know it by his delivery, which is plenty feral throughout. And the fact that there are no Illud-style embarrassments like “Radikult” or “Destructos vs. The Earth/Attack” makes his return a welcome one on its own.

3.5 Out Of 5.0


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