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What we have here is a death metal classic from the early days. This one should always be mentioned when discussing the old DM together with Consuming Impulse, Scream Bloody Gore and Left Hand Path. Yes, this is one of the best 10 death metal albums of all time. One can conclude by now this also still is the ultimate Morbid Angel album.
The album has no bad songs. The whole album is one briliant concept which starts en end in quality. The into to “Immortal Rites” is cool in the evil kind of way and not too long. “Immortal Rites” itself is filled with changes in pace and massive aggressive riffs.
“Maze Of Torment”, “Bleed For The Devil” and “Blaphemy” are the fastest and most aggressive tunes here and the ‘catchy’ anthem “Chapel of Ghouls” a fan fave and live classic. Talking about catchy, check out the chorus of “Damnation”. The original CD bonus track “Lord Of All Fevors and Plague” also is one of the best songs on the album. Why they choose this song not to be on all version of the album remains a mystery.
The performance is great. Sandoval rules on drums just like he did on the Terrorizer debut and both these album carved his name in stone forever. Compare the versions on this album to their earlier recordings with Mike Browning and it becomes obvious how important Sandoval is to the speed and intensity fo the material.
Azagtoth and Brunelle both excel on leads and it still is a shame Brunelle isn’t in the group anymore. Last but not least we have mr. Vincent who sounds really great on this album. Most notible difference with other Morbid Angels album (on which he sang) is his raspy voice here. No deep grunt but I remember reading an interview back in those days in which he said he had a cold of something similar when he recorded his vocals for Altars Of Madness. Well all I can say is, make sure you’re sick the next time you record with Morbid Angel because his vocals here are the best in his entire career! They’re beyond evil and eerie.
The sound is utterly briliant. Whereas the next album would sound too deep and polished (thus losing the sense of speed and aggression at some points) with sterile drums this one is still natural, clear and brutal. Guitars have plenty of definition and the whole sound is perfectly balanced to match the concept. This album is a masterpiece.