MORBID ANGEL


"Heretic" (Earache; 2003)

Reviewed by Kate Smith

Morbid Angel displays an unexpected sense of humor on its latest 14-track demonic death metal offering, "Heretic." For example, on the track "Drum Check," not only do we get a clinic by one of death metal's best blasters, but we also find a side of this death metal institution rarely seen: the human side. 

Fear not, heathens, there's plenty of moments to make Lucifer happy here as well, such as the monstrously metallic "Within Thy Enemy" or the devilish grind of "Curse the Flesh." Still, it's nice to be reminded that the genre's number one selling band can at least enjoy themselves a bit

All in the name of Beelzebub, of course. 

For more information, check out www.morbidangel.com


"Gateways to Annihilation" (Earache; 2000)

Reviewed by Kate Smith

Since their first album, "Alters of Madness," Morbid Angel has managed to redefine metal and they  continue to do so with their latest release "Gateways to Annihilation."

The brutality of Steve Tucker's vocals come through on every track combined with the killer guitar licks of Trey Azagthoth and Erik Rutan and the intense percussion of Pete Sandoval. This band melds very well together as a tight family. Jim Morris gave this album a very thick presence that shows some of the most gut-rumbling vocals coming from Tucker. Along with Trey and Erik's unearthly solos and Pete's backbreaking backbeats, they kick it into high gear with tracks like "Opening of the Gates" and "God of the Forsaken." But other tracks like "I" and "He Who Sleeps" methodically pummel you with brutal force.

This album shows the professionalism of the band and transcends boundaries by reaching people outside the normal sphere of fans.

Check out Morbid Angel at http://www.morbidangel.com


"Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" (Earache; 1998)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Morbid Angel's fifth studio disc "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" is yet another milestone for this legendary death metal band.

Like an irreversible genetic mutation Morbid Angel continue to leave their unmistakable mark on the death metal genre. "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" incorporates many innovative approaches into the traditional death metal styles (many of which they pioneered). Morbid Angel has fabricated a devastating blend of grinding riffs, hooks, and dark atmospheres. Changes in pace, various moods, nods to metal history, more ground breaking material, and a sense of completeness all contribute to an expansive yet holistic disc.

Trey Azagthoth's guitar work is stunning to say the least. Azagthoth's rhythm work is precise, challenging, and interesting; his lead work is some of the best solo work I've heard in a long time (check out the lead guitar in "Heaving Earth" and "Nothing Is Not" for proof). Steve Tucker's vocals are quite varied for the death metal genre - the use of Sumerian lyrics is a bit overdone, but integral to the Morbid Angel sound. Pete Sandoval's drumming and percussion is intense and almost able to stand on its own because it is so varied and appropriate for each song.

The best track without a doubt is "Invocation Of The Continual One."  This track plays like a history lesson of early thrash to modern death metal; since it was written in 1984 it certainly has the mid-80s thrash feel to it, but with additional Morbid Angel genius. Azagthoth's lead vocals on this track are solid as the song is purely his creation.

Although every song displays the band's ability to pulverize the listener each song also illustrates the band's ability to gracefully add depth with agile songwriting. This is particularly evident on great tracks such as "Heaving Earth," "Prayer Of Hatred," and "Covenant Of Death."

What separates Morbid Angel from their peers is their ability to craft moody, instrumental pieces that complement their death metal songs.   "Disturbance In The Great Slumber" and "Hymnos Rituales de Guerra" are great examples of Morbid Angel's abilities in this respect. Trey Azagthoth started Morbid Angel to elevate the status of death metal with more competent musical skills and "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" is at the forefront of superior metal.

"Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" was produced by Trey Azagthoth.  Engineering was a team effort by Tom Morris (Iced Earth, Kreator, Savatage), Mark Prator (Obituary, Coroner), and Jim Morris (Cannibal Corpse, Brutality, Jag Panzer).

Morbid Angel is Trey Azagthoth on guitars, Steve Tucker on bass and lead vocals, and Pete "Commando" Sandoval on percussion.

For more information visit the band's official website at http://www.morbidangel.com/ and get a little lava in your life.


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500.