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At this point, I have had to read and listen nothing but insults lobbed towards Morbid Angel with their new album, Illud Divinum Insanus just because it was different and not like their earlier works. I’ve read critics tear the band many new ones, I’m listened to podcasts who called for their demise. I’ve been involved in conversations with loyal fans who turned their backs on the band for trying something new, calling them things like Morbid Anus. But I stood by them like a select few who could look past the faults and actually see the solid recording behind the different direction. But when it was announced shortly after that a remix of the album was due out, I jumped for joy.

Perhaps it was a remix like the album Enemies of Reality by Nevermore. But then more details were revealed. “Remixes” meant more then one, and it quickly donned on me that this would be the various songs remixed by different people, perhaps by Techno, Industrial, or Synth artists in a similar means early Fear Factory used, which is something I can get behind as long as it’s done well. Sadly with the recent number of remixed songs appear on Metal Blade Records’ EPs for the holiday season, I approached opening the promotional .zip file with the utmost of caution. And then it hit me…

THREE HOURS, TWELVE MINUTES, AND TWO SECONDS AMONG TWO DISCS AND A DUMPCARD (whatever the hell that is)!!!

That’s the exact length according to the window holding the files when all are highlighted. That’s two discs of music, plus whatever a Dropcard is. Not to mention most of these songs are remixes of the same damn song! My heart sank immediately. I didn’t recognize any names aside a select few I had heard over time. And yeah I continued to defend Morbid Angel… inside my own head that is. And then, I threw on the first disc to sample what I’ll be getting myself into at the start of 2012…

The Remixes starts off with a remix of “I’m Morbid,” apparently by Leibach. This remix starts off well enough thanks to some classical music going on at the start that has been industrialized, but after that it just becomes a techno fueled track with the general concept of the song in mind as the same pounding electronic drum sound hammers away. This builds to include additional noises like a record being spun backwards, the occasional shouting of “I’m morbid!” and some laughter effects that come in during some industrial effects to make up for the guitars. About a minute in, I already had a headache from the annoying bass kicks that came in, but overall it wasn’t that bad a song for a remix. But, next comes the cEvin Key&Hiwatt Marshall “OmniDead rEMIx.”

This is one of the tracks that honestly surprised me. It’s far better then the first Industrial version of “I’m Morbid” that starts the disc off. The guitars are atleast kept in the mix, and it just seems like these guys simply added some effects to the song that suited it in the first pla e, while building a stronger atmosphere that feels sleek, stylish, and full of action. The bell sounds work very well here, and I caught myself headbanging along to the track on multiple occassions. The overall darker tone that the remix brought with it really felt like it completed the song. This track definitely lightene my spirits about this song, even though the Industrial elements at the end did kind of go a little over the top at the end. Brain Leisure‘s interpretation of “Too Extreme” was pretty enjoyable too honestly. Yes, again some of the Industrial effects do kind of go a bit too far, but much of the original song is here, and the sounds that are brought into it compliment the heavy guitars well, leading to a more intense mixture of Industrial and Death Metal that feels sleek and somewhat crushing musically. I also really dug the atmosphere that the track had to it when coupled with the tone of the song, which really got my blood pumping with it’s more march-oriented sound that made me want to stand up and obey.

But, for as quickly as I was sucked in to the heavy, action filled Industrial Death Metal atmosphere that appeared on those two songs, “The Toxic Avenger” came in with their remix of “10 More Dead” and basically killed all enthusiasm I had towards this release. All hope was lost again when the song was basically replaced with Techno and Electronica rave-style music with weird alarm sounds and the occassional vocals that pop up only a few times in the song. This is the farthest thing from a remix, as all it does is take a few small elements of the song and throw them in randomly to a new Techno song. After that huge let down, it’s back to “I’m Morbid” once more with “Malakwa,” and again we’re looking more at an Electronica style song. The only difference here is that there’s more of the original song kind of kept in the mix with some of that house-style material layered into it so that it becomes a bit of a cohesive approach to the original track. It’s not bad, and I honestly had a hard time getting into it at first, but the more you listen to it, the more it feels tighter and close enough to the source material. It was the gradual build to the more energetic sound and electronic influence at the end that really got me hooked on it.

Synapscape take to the remix table, and again we find the song “Too Extreme” being handled. This rendition is far closer to the original, but finds the instruments largely replaced with Electronica and Industrial elements. This is perfectly fine considering the darker tone and how the instruments actually keep to the beat of the song, and try to stick closer to the original chords. All the vocals are here to, and the track is handled in a way that caused me to stop bobbing my head along in more of an obeying yet unaware manner. This is far from topping the initial “Too Extreme,” but all things considered it’s still good.

So, what did I think of Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes due to my time with the album? Honestly, it’s a lot better then I thought it would be. There was a decent mixture of Electronica, Techno, and Industrial material that, for me atleast, was either good or not. With only one song genuinely giving me a splitting headache, which was the very first song on disc one, I’m actually kind of anxious to hear the two and a half hours that remain on a personal level. But, this is gonna be something that is going to really focus on a more niche market, and those who have forsaken the band and don’t believe a group should try to experiment or grow after being around for so long are still going to hate it, and probably add fuel to their ignorant views towards the band now.

Article based on digital review material provided by Candlelight Records.