Morbid Angel

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Photograph: Alex Solca
Morbid Angel

Morbid Angel had a tough 2011. Illud Divinum Insanus, the veteran Florida band’s long-gestating comeback effort, finally emerged in June of that year, only to be branded as a death-metal Ishtar, thanks to its embrace of campy industrial textures. The critical dogpile culminated in a priceless viral video: one of those resubtitled Downfall scenes, with a cinematic führer apparently directing his outrage at Illud’s aesthetic blasphemy. If the deafening antibuzz ignored the gawky charm of songs like “Too Extreme!”—as well as a handful of effective tracks in a more traditional mold—the disses were accurate in one key sense: Illud did pale in comparison with definitive Morbid Angel statements such as 1993’s bulldozing, magisterial Covenant.

Fortunately, the band understands that fans aren’t turning up at its 2012 gigs to hear Illud curveballs like “Destructos vs. the Earth / Attack.” Current Morbid sets, such as a haters-silencing turn at this year’s Maryland Deathfest, are filler-free nostalgia bombs, drawing chiefly on Covenant and the subgenre-defining masterpieces that preceded it. Interim drummer Tim Yeung is a more-than-able stand-in for core member Pete Sandoval, still recovering from 2010 back surgery, and lead guitarist Trey Azagthoth continues to spew pure blackened magma from his fingers, like a crazed Eddie Van Halen who’s made his own infernal deal at the Crossroads. If Illud Divinum Insanus (“those insane gods”) didn’t live up to its title, this week’s show—Morbid Angel’s first NYC appearance since 2006—just might. (Revered Swedish outfits Dark Funeral and Grave help set the stage.)—Hank Shteamer

Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing

Buy Illud Divinum Insanus on iTunes

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