To say that Morbid Angel’s 2011 comeback LP was perceived by the Death Metal multiverse as a dismal flop is putting things rather lightly. I once publicly admitted to liking four songs from Illud, and came home that night to a burning cross in my lawn and a banner that read, “FAGGOT GO HOME.” Four good songs or not, I think we can all agree that the album overall was more awkward than a loud fart at a funeral, and that in retrospect, Steve Tucker-fronted Morbid Angel sounded better by comparison. Sure, there wasn’t an Altars of Madness or a Covenant, but it most certainly can be argued as the most brutal era of their legendary legacy (pending one’s own definition of “brutal,” of course). After hearing whatever that Nader Sadek rubbish was —I’d like to hear the argument for four good songs there— I was beginning to wonder if the Heretic album would be my last good memory of all the parties involved. Needless to say, I was strongly rooting for Warfather’s debut to beat the ugly out of me. I was hoping Tucker —faced with the daunting challenge of having to reinvent and reinvigorate his career at age 42— would make Father Time his bitch and conquer 2014. After all, he’s a pretty confident person, bro.
< dead silence >
While a competent effort, Orchestrating the Apocalypse does not have what it takes to fulfill those wishes. It’s a peculiar case of highly impressive individual performances not equating to much of a whole. On the positive side, the riffs are great. Tucker —switching from bass to guitar for this project— not only summons the back catalogs of Deicide and Morbid Angel to classic effect, but also succeeds at the difficult task of infusing emotion into Deathly riffcraft. Some of these melodies have melodies that have melodies! Elsewhere, it’s as if he modeled many of the guitar arrangements after Classical music. The drumming —courtesy of the mighty “Deimos” (former sticksman for Destroyer 666, Inhume, Prostitute Disfigurement, and Sinister to name a few)— is also spectacular. However, the drum sound is fucking clown dick. The only thing I like about the sound of the kick drums is that it reminds me of when I used to write reviews on an actual typewriter. Which brings us to the record’s biggest flaw: horseshit production. Horrible beyond belief! It’s as if the instruments were recorded on different planets and then mixed using some kind of pre-ProTools software prototype. (And don’t give me that “it’s supposed to sound Old School” bullshit. Old School sounded way better than this. Shit, Hellhammer’s Death Fiend demo sounds better than this.) It’s paper thin, completely void of any trace of audible bass guitar, and highlights a definite need for studio magic when it comes to Tucker’s vocals. Too often he reaches too far for range that isn’t there, and you can file that under momentruiner. (Fuck the purists. AutoTune that shit! A guitar doesn’t naturally sound distorted, does it? No one gets butthurt about that.) In closing, there’s a lot of good things to take away from Orchestrating the Apocalypse, but they don’t come close to outweighing all that’s left to be desired. With even the most basic of modern productions, you could probably flip the six on this rating.
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Koji Kabuto said:
Jack’s first review in 6 months? It’s a celebration, bitches!
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