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A trio for this one featuring a great lineup with David Vincent on vocals/bass, Trey Azagthoth on guitars/keyboards and Pete Sandoval behind the set. One of the greatest albums at the time here, displaying top notch death metal with utmost intensity and utmost originality in musicianship. Also flooding the Floridian death metal scene, Morbid Angel however was formed during the very early 1980's with a different lineup. What's most important here to discuss would be what did the band do to achieve such high marks during the time of its recording? I will explain this now.
First of all, "Rapture" opens up the way to hearing what's riff-wrenching in it's utter ideal strength, the music itself on each track (10 tracks total) features music that is unequivical ranks. Not only does "Rapture" set the pace here with Trey's wrenching riff-writing the whole way throughout the release. Bar chords, tremolo picking and lead playing triumph, he dominates in every way. David Vincent behind the vocal duties seems to be their best with him in the band. Burly vocals and plenty of blast beating by Pete, tempos fluctuate all over the place. "God of Emptiness" displays a slowed down song of wretched, thick and death sentencing riffs.
This album is a follow up from "Abominations of Desolation", another Morbid Angel album that deserves a lot of respect. But our focus will remain here. "Covenant" seems to me to be one of the greatest releases by the band because most of album has its' achievement in riff writing, vocals and lead guitar playing. What stuck with me most were the riffs not as much as a the leads although Trey is really a great guitar player. If Morbid Angel left out the a few more leads on this one, I would've given it a higher rank. But because I felt there were too many leads, I'm going to have to come day and say "look at, the riffs are amazing, but the leads were chaotic and just everywhere."
"Covenant" holds its own in the time where death metal was emerging in Florida where these guys are based out of. I immediately liked this album because of the first song. But after hearing the whole album, I was mostly impressed with ALL of the rhythms. They are very catchy, thick, low tuned and grinding. David Vincent's vocals fit well with the music and Pete Sandoval did a great job behind the set with all of the tempo changes in the guitar playing. This trio put forth an awesome recording with Flemming Rasmussen working magic with the mixing, production and engineering.
I had to own this album after hearing "Rapture". That sucked me into the grind of this overall dominating piece of work by one of the best lineups that Morbid Angel has ever had. Maybe it wasn't the greatest in the lead department though I deem Trey as being an awesome riff writing musician for the band. He paved the way to making this a great release with his skill behind the rhythm section. David Vincent to me has always been their best vocalist and when he left the band, I kind of lost interest in them in all aspects. Anyway, if you like death metal well played out and finely recorded, "Covenant" hits home with a positive outcome.