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Classic Morbid Angel, second only to Altars! - 92%

GrimAndFrostbitten, August 19th, 2003

After discovering Altars of Madness, I finally discovered what people found in Morbid Angel, since I had only heard post-Covenant before. Afterwards, I heard a few of the slower tracks off of this album and didn't like it, mistakenly thinking that Altars of Madness was the sole good Morbid Angel album and this was only a precursor to the Covenant-era stuff. I never liked the style on Covenant or later, with its chunky guitars, excessive blast beats that don't blast, and crummy vocals -- save for the song Angel of Disease, which is much more reminiscient of how much of this album sounds. However, after hearing the rest of this album at a later point, I realized that there were some killer songs on there I somehow stupidly missed, and that this album slays and I must have it. I listened through it as a whole, I learned to like the other ones though I still don't like Covenant or anything after, save for Angel of Disease.

The introduction is nothing more than a minute grinding noise with a few random whining noises thrown in. It's nothing remarkable, and I usually skip it.

I always seem to dislike first tracks, and as such Fall from Grace is just ok. It begins relatively slowly, with a doom-style to it. It begins to pick up, and at 45 seconds stays with the riff but has some blastbeats that don't exactly fit, but aren't too out of place. Vincent's voice is a bit deeper than usual, but remains powerful. The guitars are a bit slower and repetitive, and the drums don't blast. This song is the beginning of the style used on later albums, but is still far better than any of those. At 2:45, it slows down again, but is redeemed by an insane Azagthoth / Brunelle twin solo full of squealing and fast tapping.

Brainstorm -- something of a stupid name for a killer song about demonic empowerment through reading unholy books, in my opinion -- is where the album begins to pick up. The riffing is much faster and more creative, making great use of chaotic chromaticism and staying interesting the whole time. The vocals are sicker sounding and work perfectly with the great lyrics and its catchy chorus. The drums are fucking artillery from hell. It's short, but very memorable, and will bring on headbanging, even through the slowdown. This song owns.

Rebel Lands is heavier and still rather fast, with everything being absolutely vicious, though not out right insane like any of their other words. Doomsday Celebration is a very cool keyboard song, and is a nice break to add atmosphere put the album in perspective.

Day of Suffering begins slow, with deeper vocals and guitars, but quickly picks up half a minute into the song with insanely pummelling drumming and fast tremolo riffing. For roughly a minute and a half, it will beat the crap out of you and force you to headbang.

Blessed are the Sick is the slow song on the album, and is almost an evil doom song, with Vincent's growls and the occasional double-bass. The remastered edition even comes with a video of it, most of it being David Vincent shirtless, showing off his piercings after getting dragged off through the woods to some lesbian coven. Though I hated it at first, I've come to actually like this song.

Now, to the best of the album:

Thy Kingdom Come brings back the speed with a vengeance! Though it's not Bleed for the Devil, it contains chaotic atonal riffs, vicious vocals, ferocious drumming, and a great chorus. The soloing at 2:06 is straight out of hell -- screaming like a completely insane and chaotic maniac. This song is a total frenzy will kick your ass.

Unholy Blasphemies -- not to be confused with Blasphemy from Altars -- is a remake of one of their old mid-80s songs off Abominations, completely realizing its potential. The heavy and fast riffs and pounding drumming continue their rampage non-stop through out the song, and Satan commands to headbang to it. The vocals are deeper than usual in the song, but have the effect of being very bold when delivering the great anthemic lyrics: "Ghouls who pray [for the] death of God, destroy Jehovah's church, vomit upon the cross, and burn [the] book of lies!" It's a bit short, but a perfect length for stomping you into the ground.

Abominations is the perfect way to do a fast, heavy groove song. I generally don't like any groove, but this one does a killer job with speed, ferocity, and chaos. The drumming goes along perfectly. Vincent continues his vicious and harsh yet understandable vocals while pumping out solid bass work are more great evil anthems: "We spit on the virgin lamb and mock the words he spoke, his ways not worthy of me, we choose to burn in the pits of Hell." The lead guitars punctuate throughout the song, sounding like demons torturing souls in hell.

Desloate Ways is one of my favorite songs on the album. It's entirely acoustic, but is so ghostly, sad and... desolate, it's almost haunting.

Ancient Ones is a remake of the mid-80s Abominations song Azagthoth. It begins with a killer solo by Azagthoth that sounds unholy, as if it is the emergence of Ctulu from the seas of Absu over pounding drumming and solid and heavy riffing. The riffing, bass work, and drumming is absolutely crushing, the vocals harsh, evil, and the lyrics straight out of the Necronomicon with an indelible chorus that will make you rewind this song to listen to it again and again until your neck is sore. However, it wisely does not capitalize in on that and repeat it ad nauseam -- the middle two and a half minutes is entirely instrumental, but is still great. The chorus returns, but does not repeat itself for the rest of the song, and instead winds down for roughly another minute in the same fashion. I couldn't stop listening to this song nearly every day for something like two months.

In Rememberance is a piano piece that while not as good as Desolate Ways, is still very sad and forsaken, and is a great way to end the album.

Though it's not a perfect album or as good as Altars of Madness, it has some killer, absolutely classic songs that you should not live without. You will listen to them repeatedly. The rest of it is great as well, even if it took me two or three listens to appreciate it.