Let’s cut to the chase here. This IS your father’s Morbid Angel. Forget that 2011 record. I don’t care how long you worshipped at the altars of madness to try and “get” that record; short of a couple of tracks that were actually metal it was a complete fail, but I don’t need to rehash what happened there; it’s just too extreme.
Ok, now we got that out of the way…
Are you a fan of Gateways to Annihilation? How about Formulas Fatal to the Flesh? You are? Good. Because Kingdoms Disdained picks up where those left off. This is wall to wall double bass, classic Trey leadwork and a pissed off Steve Tucker. This is a dirty, angry, uptempo record that’s going to give your head a pounding and then pound it some more. This is going to blow out your subs in your car driving to work and you’re going to imagine yourself head banging to the revitalized Morbid Angel when they come to your town.
The first single, “Piles of Little Arms,” is already out. It’s a great track and acts as a signal of things to come. Let’s get into the rest of the record… “D.E.A.D.”… classic Steve Tucker era opening and classic Tucker era sound. Nasty guitars with riff after riff and there’s going to be a huge smile on your face once you hear the beginning of Azagthoth’s early leads. But that’s not all – at a minute and a half into the song you start to hear some groove and all the instruments come together in a way that’s going to bring you back to the 1990’s. More blast beats follow and quickly you realize that you’re about to embark on a real Morbid Angel record; a record many thought we’d never again hear.
As most of us know, this iteration of Morbid Angel features the return of Steve Tucker on bass (which shines on “Paradigms Warped”) and vocals and original member Trey Azagthoth on guitars. Scotty Fuller (Absymal Dawn) more than aptly handles the drums. If you’re worried about a different drum sound with the absence of Pete Sandoval and/or Tim Yeung, you can stop worrying. Fuller clearly knew what he had to accomplish on this record and he really shines. Love his drums here. Erik Rutan does an incredible job on the recording side. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Admittedly, there are definitely some tracks that are better than others. “Garden of Disdain” a bit vanilla and “The Pillars Crumbling” doesn’t really get going until three minutes into the track (though after those three minutes we get a some killer lead guitar work). But I wouldn’t call these low points, they’re songs that are just not quite at the level as some of the other cuts.
Many high points on this record to point out, for example, two and a half minutes into “From the Hand of Kings,” there it is again – Trey’s classic lead sound. Perfectly embedded in the mix. Perfectly integrated into the song. THIS is Morbid Angel. THIS is what we were waiting so long for. The last two minutes of “For No Master” is some classic death metal that brings you back to the hey day of the Western Florida swamps and “Fall of Idols” is sure to be a fan favorite. “Architect and Iconoclast” is going to melt your face off.
Is this new record Covenant or Blessed Are the Sick? No. But there’s never going to be another Covenant and we have to appreciate it for what it is. However, this new record is very refreshing and gives the entire genre that shot in the arm it needs. There are no throw-away tracks, there’s no awkwardness and there’s no experimentation. It’s straight ahead aggressive metal.
Overall, this is a dark record for the dark times we live in. Kingdoms Disdained is about our world and its chronic despair we find ourselves in. Morbid Angel is not about refuge, or the thought of being saved, rather it’s a reflection of the reality here in 2017.
Kingdoms Disdained will be released on December 1st on