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metalhead in the world! While I have been listening to metal for over 20 years for some reason I have never listened to Morbid Angel. Then a few weeks ago I decided to give them a try so I picked up Blessed Are the Sick (considered by many their masterpiece) and Gateways to Annihilation. I know many have put Gateways down (except for The Punishment Due, of course) so I did not expect much. But, now I can honestly say that this is one of the most magnificent metal albums I have ever heard. Yes, its that good!
The album starts with the evil buzzing intro of "Kawazu" which is a perfect build up for what is to come - "Summoning Redemption". This song is so heavy and brutal that words cannot describe it. The other thing I also notice is that the vocals are incredible. Steve Tucker's death growls are not only intelligible but are quite brutal and evil. Best death metal vocals I have ever heard.
After that great start, one might expect things to go downhill. Nope! Next up is "Ageless, Still I Am". My God, this is just as heavy and brutal! The guitars are buzzing but distinguishable which is another reason that this is not your standard death metal. Much praise to Trey and Rutan. The lyrics are awesome as well. This is not the ordinary satanic praises or slitting guts type. These are well thought out lyrics that are delivered with bad intentions by Tucker - "Your Fathers tried to slay me, Your Brothers fell before me". Brilliant, absolutely fucking brilliant.
The greatness does continue with "He Who Sleeps" with one of the most catchiest choruses ever heard in the genre - "Forgive me Father? I am not your God...". I sang this to myself for a week straight. Next is "To the Victor the Spoils" where the speed is increased. This is where you truly realize how great of a drummer Sandoval really is. Just fast and powerful and Tucker seems to be shoving the lyrics down your throat. The guitar solo is menacing. Another classic song.
"At One With Nothing" stomps its feet right through your skull then hits with you a doom like riff for a breather then it wails like a banshee then back to some more stomping. Try not to headbang to this one. Then there is a guitar lead that is unexpecting and quite unusual but that is some of the brilliance of Morbid Angel. Don't expect the normal course for a metal song. This band is beyond that.
"Opening of the Gates" opens with a slow heavy riff then it hits high gear with some more great vocals by Tucker. "Secured Limitations" is next. This is evil, plain and simple. There are duel vocals with Tucker and I believe, Trey. The duet works because as heavy and brutal as Tucker is, Trey's vocals are shrieking and possessed. He sounds like he's enduring an excorcism. The guitar solos are also incredible in this song, mixing beauty and evil. Another masterpiece.
Then comes the instrumental "Awakening" to let you catch your breath before the two final brutal songs "I" and "God of the Forsaken". "I" kicks you in the teeth and Tucker's vocals cement him as one of the premiere vocalists in this genre. "God of the Forsaken" is a great closer as it a very heavy song and is a bit of a reminder of what this album is about - "For the Voices that summon me, have grown immense..."
I know I seem to be gushing over this album like a 10 year old school girl over the latest In'Sync album but I cannot help it. From the first time I heard this album, I was floored and still am with each listen. The musicianship is top notch. Tucker deserves much more respect for what I consider the best vocals for this genre. I hope we hear from him in the future. As for Trey, Sandoval and Rutan, just perfect execution. The songwriting is original and brilliant and the lyrics are mesmerizing to say the least.
This album is a metal masterpiece and should be praised by more people. Let go of your preconceived notions that post-Covenant Morbid Angel is nothing to look into. Do yourself a favor as a metalhead, buy this album now and experience its greatness.