Friday, December 8, 2017

Morbid Angel "Kingdoms Disdained"

    After Morbid Angel’s 2011 album, “Illud Divinum Insanus,” received some rather negative feedback from fans and critics, there was a lot of talk in the metal press about how the iconic death metal band needed a strong follow-up. Their new album, “Kingdoms Disdained,” is quite simply a 100% grade A “death metal album.” Any bad feelings about the previous album disappear as your ears are decimated by the tremendous ferocity that can be heard on the new album.

    To begin, the departure of bassist/singer David Vincent and the return of Steve Tucker marked a positive shift, even though one cannot deny David’s contributions on albums like “Altars of Madness,” “Blessed Are the Sick,” “Covenant,” and “Domination.” Still, I felt like David Vincent needed to go and Tucker needed to come back. Just like when David left after “Domination” and Tucker came in for “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh,” the band was able to push forward into more brutal and unforgiving boundaries.

    I think the band really focused on coming up with a consistent and brutal release that pounds ferociously into your skull. Trey Azagthoth lays down some vicious guitar riffs along with these mind bending frantic leads to inject moments of savage musical chaos. New drummer Scott Fuller did a solid job hammering out some crushing drum tracks and provides a behemoth blast beat rhythmic backbone. Steve Tucker is without question a dedicated death metal warrior who unleashes one hellish vocal performance while also handling his bass parts with an unapologetic approach.

    Kicking the album off in a bombastic style, the first song, “Piles of Little Arms,” explodes out of the speakers for an unholy assault of extreme sounding carnage. I felt that this song established a solid foundation to capture my attention and build up anticipation for the following tracks. The second song on the album, “D.E.A.D.” takes listeners on another wicked ride through heavily distorted riffs of bold aggression along with destructive vocals provided by Steve.

    Out of the eleven songs on this album you find it difficult to really choose a favorite, but there are certain tracks that do stand out a bit more than others. For example, “Paradigms Warped,” is a mind twisting piece of death metal that reminds me of something you would have heard on, “Gateways to Annihilation.” Trey’s guitar playing is exceptional and I am always amazed by how he creates these unconventional sinister sounds with his guitar.

    Another killer track to highlight is, “Declaring New Law (Secret Hell),” which slows down the tempo for a less frantic sound and more mid-tempo approach. The very percussive sounding composition works quite well with the lyrical delivery and there are certain lines that get stuck in your head. The repetitive verse, “Torture any fool that does not submit…” establishes such a bellicose tone and strikes fear in the hearts of those who dare question what Steve Tucker is saying.

    Overall, there are multiple areas that I would like to express my feelings about how the band did on this album, however, I feel like it is time to wrap up this review and give my final thoughts. First off, Erik Rutan did a solid job recording this album, so going forward I think Morbid Angel should stick with him to avoid return to that weak industrial metal sound you heard on, “Illud Divinum Insanus.” Secondly, I do not believe this is by any means the greatest Morbid Angel album to date, but it sure is one of the most impressive releases to come out this year. Final point to make is that the line-up featured on this album was stellar together and history shows that when Steve Tucker is in the band we are guaranteed Morbid Angel will crank out quality death metal releases.

    In the end, fans win because you get a crushing new album from Morbid Angel and David Vincent wins because he can now focus on his cowboy music. Saddle up the horses Evil D, because with Tucker in the band I think you will be ridding around the open range for a while.

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