Sunday, March 25, 2012

Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes - Morbid Angel - 2012

I must admit I am at a loss on how to approach any review for Morbid Angel's remix project of their nearly universally reviled Illud Divinum Insanus (I, for the record, did not hate it). I am not sure if it is an exercise in ignorance - or an intentional ignoring - of fans' reactions, a statement of independence, a giant fuck you or a little of all the above, but here we have it: two discs - plus a card with a code for download of eight additional remixes - weighing in at over three hours across nearly forty tracks. It's a lot to stomach for even an admitted admirer of the source material.

You cannot approach Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes as an album in any way. Eleven versions alone of "I am Morbid" prohibit any such exploration. Instead, this a set of records that must be cherry-picked and pared down to a preferred playlist. That said, even when manicured to a manageable size, is it any good? Yes, it is, with qualifiers.

You need to dig the source material, even a little. You also need to have a passion for classic industrial and electronic music. If your shelves are littered with Laibach, KMFDM, Ministry and the like, this will fit in nicely. If you like your metal pure and your music firmly footed in either the classic or current era, pass this one up without a second thought. Even for a fan of Morbid Angel, the aforementioned industrial genre, and Illud Divinum Insanus I really only have nine tracks I like from the two discs and there's no way I can play them alone without other similar music mixed in - of those eleven remixes of "I am Morbid," four made my playlist:
  1. "I am Morbid (We are Laibach)" - Laibach
  2. "10 More Dead" - The Toxic Avenger
  3. "I Am Morbid" - Malakwa
  4. "I Am Morbid" - Micropoint
  5. "I Am Morbid (I Am Toxic)" - Toxic Engine
  6. "Profundis (Mea Culpa)" - Skold
  7. "Too Extreme" - Miss Construction by Chris Pohl
  8. "Destructos vs. the Earth/Attack" -  Project Pitchfork
  9. "Radikult" - Fixhead
With the exception of Laibach I have no idea who the hell any of the other contributors are and/or if I'm even more lame for liking some of these or for ignoring other "heavy hitters" in the remix arena. What interests me as a listener, though, is how a track I sincerely disliked, like "10 More Dead," improves for me when pushed even further from traditional metal and toward the electronic boundaries of the original record. None of the remixes I preferred are too experimental - or derivative - from the originals. They're, more or less, the kind of heavy, dumb music KMFDM built a career upon and that, frankly, I really love to wake myself up with during a pre-dawn commute.

Is Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes a good album? Hell, no. Is it a decent collection? Maybe, maybe not. Would it make a great EP? With a shitload of editing, absolutely. It's worth noting that a "dropcard" inserted in the first pressing (think it'll sell out, Season of Mist?) adds eight tracks currently unavailable elsewhere and that they alone make for a pretty decent, self-contained EP. If you like this stuff at all it may a marketing trick that works as they're as good as anything else on the physical discs. Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes is a fun anomaly for the music fan who doesn't take their collection too seriously. It's fairly priced at under $15 for two discs and chances are very good that you'll eventually find it for even less in used and cut-out bins near you.

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