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Album of the year for 1991 - 97%

TrooperEd, January 26th, 2012

With all due respect to Altars of Madness, if this was Morbid Angel’s debut, they would have had just as much of an impact they had with Altars if not greater. Most great metal bands have two, three or four albums that fans love, but not too many bands have two albums that instantly go in the top 10, if not top 5 of their particular genre. That’s the stuff Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden are made of. And you better fucking believe that this album is top 5 for death metal.

What makes this album great? As usual, it’s variety. While I’m sure to most death metal fans, Chapel of Ghouls 10 times at 10 different fast speeds is all there is to metal, it’s much more impressive to me when a band truly expands their canvas and shows what they are capable of. You have your epic numbers like The Ancinet Ones; your fast face-ripping fuck tracks (to borrow a colloquialism) like Day of Suffering, Thy Kingdom Come, and Unholy Blasphemies (my personal favorite Morbid Angel song); your doomy slow songs like the title track and Abominations. Even the interludes are really awesome. The track “Intro” just might be the greatest non-musical opener to an album ever (and yes that includes “join us” from Hell Awaits), pieces like Desolate Ways and In Remberance are somber moody pieces that are quiet, but don’t overstay their welcome like Fluff, and hell I can even understand if there are fans out there who think you can’t play Day of Suffering without playing Doomsday Celebration first. Then there’s the albums real first song, Fall From Grace, which I put mid-tier for songs, but has this fine piece of poetry:

“I am Belial...I bend my knee not but for my selfish desires.”

Not only is the best line on the album, but it is probably the definitive statement for all death metal. Before this album, death metal was a slightly laughable cult following for those who wanted a little more rape and guts with their thrashy festivities. After this album, death metal was legitimized as an artform—whether it’s fans wanted it to be or not.