MORBID ANGEL
Death Metal • United States

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Morbid Angel is a Tampa, Florida, United States-based death metal band assembled in 1984. They, along with Deicide, Death, Possessed, Suffocation, Obituary, Massacre and a handful of others were crucial in the development of the death metal genre and its standards. UK music magazine "Terrorizer" ranked two Morbid Angel albums in its "Top 40 Greatest Death Metal Albums," with Altars of Madness appearing at #1. Decibel Magazine also rated guitarist Trey Azagthoth as the #1 "Death Metal Guitarist Ever." Their songs are complex in arrangement, owing to the considerable technical skills of both Azagthoth and drummer Pete Sandoval (who also played in the grindcore/death metal band Terrorizer).

Morbid Angel made their vinyl debut in 1987 on New Renaissance Records. Morbid Angel was one of the original death metal bands signed to Earache Records, and was also influential in the transition of death metal from its thrash metal roots to its
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Altars of MadnessAltars of Madness
Import
Earache UK 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$28.99 (used)
Gateways to AnnihilationGateways to Annihilation
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$6.35
$98.91 (used)
FORMULAS FATAL TO THE FLESHFORMULAS FATAL TO THE FLESH
Century Media 2013
Audio CD$11.41
$11.40 (used)
CovenantCovenant
Giant Records / Wea 1993
Audio CD$6.77
$5.79 (used)
ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUSILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS
SEASON MIST AMERICA 2012
Audio CD$2.77
$2.76 (used)
HereticHeretic
Import
Earache UK 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$17.27 (used)
DominationDomination
Warner Bros Mod Afw 1995
Audio CD$11.86
$5.91 (used)
Illud Divinum Insanus: The RemixesIllud Divinum Insanus: The Remixes
Season of Mist 2012
Audio CD$6.16
$5.17 (used)
Blessed Are the Sick (Reissue)Blessed Are the Sick (Reissue)
EARACHE RECORDS 2015
Vinyl$25.41
Abominations of DesolationAbominations of Desolation
Import
Earache UK 2007
Audio CD$4.99
$17.44 (used)
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MORBID ANGEL Discography

MORBID ANGEL albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.30 | 33 ratings
Altars of Madness
Death Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.19 | 37 ratings
Blessed Are the Sick
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.33 | 29 ratings
Covenant
Death Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 4.03 | 22 ratings
Domination
Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.63 | 13 ratings
Formulas Fatal to the Flesh
Death Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 15 ratings
Gateways to Annihilation
Death Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.32 | 8 ratings
Heretic
Death Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 1.71 | 21 ratings
Illud Divinum Insanus
Death Metal 2011

MORBID ANGEL EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Laibach Remixes
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nevermore
Death Metal 2011

MORBID ANGEL live albums

.. Album Cover 2.71 | 5 ratings
Entangled in Chaos
Death Metal 1996

MORBID ANGEL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 3.22 | 5 ratings
Abominations of Desolation
Death Metal 1991

MORBID ANGEL boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Love of Lava
Death Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 1.00 | 1 ratings
Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes
Industrial Metal 2012

MORBID ANGEL singles (0)

MORBID ANGEL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

MORBID ANGEL Reviews

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
‘Altars of Madness’ was the album which made people sit up and take death metal seriously. Early death metal was characterised by heavy Neanderthal riffs, double kick drum abusing percussion, and gargling vocals. Death’s 1988 album ‘Leprosy’ was the first to start refining this formula past its most basic, but ‘Altars Of Madness’ took it a step further. Morbid Angel proved that death metal musicians could be highly skilled, and that death metal didn’t have to be simple to be effective. There is so much detail through the album. Each song is a multi-spiralling helix of twisted riffs, demented solos and leads and machinegun percussion. There is so much going on in each song that repeated listens are required to pick out even half of it. A song like ‘Maze of Torment’ is appropriately titled, because it shoots off in so many different directions, turning back on itself, twisting and writhing. Trey Azagthoth had a reputation as a bit of a fruit loop, but no one could doubt his skill as a guitarist. Azagthoth routinely slashed his arm before playing, letting the blood flow over his instrument as a sacrifice to aid his skills. Owing equal debts to Eddie Van Halen, Mozart and the Ancient Ones, his playing was far from conventional. He often throws in off-kilter notes and unexpected guitar effects and noises, essential in weaving the ultra-complex web of Morbid Angel’s identity. Richard Brunelle matched Azagthoth for enthusiasm, if not quite for technique, and while his soloing style is less technical than Azagthoth’s, it is no less frenetic. David Vincent’s voice is not as gruff as many early Death Metal vocalists, but it allows a certain fluidity a deeper voice would negate. It allows the listener to fully appreciate the band’s tales of damnation and evil. ‘Chapel of Ghouls’ is one of the oldest songs here, written along with original drummer and vocalist Mike Browning, but it stands out as a highlight. Believe it or not, it has a sing-along chorus. While much of the album takes several listens to penetrate, it is quite possible to pick up the chant “Dead- your god is dead/Fools- your god is dead/Useless prayers of lies/Behold Satan’s rise”. Judicious use of blast beats and the multifaceted Azagthoth/Brunelle solos embed this song firmly into your mind. ‘Blasphemy’ is the other real stand out track. It starts with machinegun fire, the rapidity of which Pete Sandoval matches and then surpasses with the snare. Ever wondered why his nickname is Commando? Vincent’s voice almost sounds out a melody, while the minimal use of solos (well, minimal for Morbid Angel anyway) helps create a short, punchy track. The re-released version of the album has the track ‘Lord of All Fevers and Plague’ as a bonus. It is hard to see why the track wasn’t originally included on the album. The overall sound fits perfectly with the rest of the album. Lyrically though, it is Azagthoth’s ode to Lovecraftian demons, rather than following the satanic theme present elsewhere. There are also remixes of ‘Maze of Torment’, ‘Chapel of Ghouls’ and ‘Blasphemy’ added as bonus tracks, although the only difference between these and the originals are some slightly altered solos. This album still sounds fresh. Although nowhere near as heavy as much of the death metal coming out today, ‘Altars Of Madness’ proved a valuable point at the time of its release, that brutality and skill need not be mutually exclusive.

MORBID ANGEL Illud Divinum Insanus

Album · 2011 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
*cracks knuckles*

Oh man, where to begin with this one?

Well, this was the first Morbid Angel release in 8 years, and the first to feature classic member David Vincent in 16 years. So there was quite a lot of buzz throughout the metal world about it. The first thing I heard about it was on the cover of a magazine at my record store, before the CD released, calling it the band's "most controversial" album yet. I assumed it would be lyrically controversial, but as it turned out the music was the culprit. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is a radical departure from the band's discog, and was quickly hailed as "the new St Anger". While I, kind of, enjoy that album I get the comparison: This album was a colossal let down and "WTF?" for fans. Though while St Anger may be reviled by fans, at least you can see what Metallica was trying to do..."Illud Divinum Insanus" left us stumped even there.

So almost one year later, all the dust has settled and I can get to my review. It's terrible. Now I will say, I am not really a fan of Morbid Angel or most death metal in general, which allows me a pretty impartial listen. Since it's not really my cup of tea, another Morbid Angel death metal album would have almost certainly gotten a 2 by default, (at the lowest). This is worse though...as a metal fan in general this album is just heinous.

There is death metal to be found, more than it may seem from some reviews, but there are dives into industrial metal, as well as nu metal and frankly the death metal that is present just sounds like crud. The production is terrible, the guitars sound low in the mix and just not very good. The drums sound like absolute crap, I thought it was done by drum programming at first...really I was shocked to see a human played them. The vocals are pretty bad. So even if there are good death metal songs here, I'd still be turned off by how poor they sound. Of course, being death metal, they are bland anyway.

"Omni Potens" starts the album and it's actually kind of cool. Synths and militaristic drumming gives it a real dark tone, backed by some campy sounding tribal chants and random yells.

Sadly, the fun intro kicks right into the mess. "Too Extreme" starts with a painfully simple riff and single note drum hits. Really, it's the playing of an 11 year old hitting the bass, snare and tom all at once over and over. This continues for most of the song with an industrial style noise and sample repeated throughout. It's boring, very boring. Forget how laughable it is. There's a reason industrial metal doesn't appeal to me and that's how repetitive and dull it is. The drums sound atrocious.

"Existo Vulgore" starts a bit of a throwback, and while it's good to see the band hasn't lost its musical skill, it's still bland. Extreme metal song, but again the guitar and drums sound so bad and the vocals seem to be a parody of death metal itself at times. Maybe death metal fans will like it, but others wont...it's very repetitive and boring. Solo is cool.

"Blades for Baal" is more of the same, and seems to be one of the highlights for MA fans. Straight up death metal, in all it's double bass, blast beat glory. Again it sounds horrid as do the vocals and is dull for me.

"I Am Morbid" starts off with a groovy riff, and isn't too bad. The same problems sneak up though, boring and crap vocals, and it's unrelenting with both.

"10 More Dead" is one of the better songs, as it builds from a groovy riff to thrashing death metal and blazing solos. Can't say I like this song, but it's tolerable.

"Destructos vs. the Earth / Attack" well we're back to industrial metal, like that name didn't imply it? More laughably simple riffs and drumming ensue for almost the entire 7 minutes and 15 seconds. I'm tired of hearing all those single note drum slams.

"Nevermore" this song was released early as a single, but more like a cruel joke...it's one of the more "normal" Morbid Angel style songs. Surely, fans must've heard this with some hope, just to be let down when hearing all of IDI. Standard death metal song, should be enjoyed by fans of such. As usual it doesn't do much for me thanks to its unrelenting nature, machine like chains of double bass and tremolo picking. For MA and death metal fans though, another of the "highlights".

"Beauty Meets Beast" simple, repetitive, boring, terrible sound. Next.

"Radikult" this song became the joke of the internet, and rightfully so as it's the most grievous offense on the album. Back to those super simple riffs and drumming. Ahhhh so much single note pounding! The sound of that bass drum is like the sound of my brain throbbing in agony. Vincent crappily screams on and on about how hardcore and br00tal the band is, seriously it's the death metal version of rap. Especially with the chorus of "kill a cop".

Vincent yelling "WE'RE LIVING HARDCORE AND RADICAL" will forever be burned into my memory. I think this song is a joke, literally. The lyrics are a pastiche of itself. This song is a joke of death metal and MA, self parody. I'll get back to all that later.

"Profundis - Mea Culpa" holy hell...we've entered a mortal combat game. That intro just leaves you waiting to hear Vincent yell "Ready? Fight!" There's some real slow, boring parts that are alternated with that video game thrash music. The fakest sounding drums yet, and the worst sounding guitars...they've saved the best for last!

Wow, I'm glad that's over. So here's what we got: A poor death metal album, an industrial metal album, and a nu metal album were each being shipped when their trucks collided. The mess of broken CD bits were then glued together randomly to make this album. That's my sincerest opinion and simplest description.

I question what Morbid Angel was attempting to do here, and how does Pete Sandoval, (sidelined from this album due to surgery) feel about it? Was this the band's honest intent? Was it an experiment? Did they get frozen in 2003, to wake up 8 years later and think they were still in '03 where industrial and nu metal were hot? I can't help but think back to "Radikult" and wonder if this whole album is a joke. A purposely done, anti Morbid Angel sound to challenge, (or upset) the fans.

Lyrics from "Radikult" such as: "The walls are high we know, they've gotta come down", "we've been crossing the line since 1989", "the radicals are here to stay", and "because the boundaries are coming down" make me wonder if they were indeed going for a totally in our face, anti MA sounding challenge. Push the boundaries of their music and fans? Maybe after 20+ years they were tired of death metal. Regardless of the reason, this must look like a middle finger to the long time fans. Only the future will tell what exactly the intent was with "Illud Divinum Insanus"

One Star



MORBID ANGEL Heretic

Album · 2003 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
I dunno, guys. When you're reduced to tossing on a two minute drum solo from a drum check - technically impressive, but no less boring for it - it seems to be a sign of a band in decline. Don't get me wrong, for the most part this is acceptable, entertaining brutal death metal of the sort Morbid Angel are used to making... but that seems to be the problem, they're used to it, they seem to be just going by the numbers and watching the clock. I guess this might be why they took that left turn into industrial metal on the next album.

MORBID ANGEL Gateways to Annihilation

Album · 2000 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Aaah, this is more like it. After the somewhat run of the mill effort which was Formulas Fatal To the Flesh, Morbid Angel bring back aspects the somewhat slower and grimier style of death metal they pioneered on Blessed Are the Sick to produce this compelling return to form. Pete Sandoval snatches the spotlight from the opening moments of lead track Kawazu and doesn't stray too far from it for an entire album - the sheer speed, technical competence, and absolute tirelessness of his drumming makes you think he absolutely has to be a drum machine, but the aggression and flair evident in his playing proves that he isn't. Add the sort of frenzied guitar solos we've come to expect from Morbid Angel and you have a compelling proposition indeed.

MORBID ANGEL Formulas Fatal to the Flesh

Album · 1998 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Maybe it's just that following up the wonderful Covenant and Domination was an impossible task, but I can't help but feel disappointed by Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. Sure, the death metal pieces are pretty good, but at this point they don't offer any surprises, and rounding off the album with extensive non-death metal instrumentals is a bizarre way to finish the thing which seems intended more to show off the participant's chops and musical versatility than it is to provide an aesthetic closure to the album. Not my favourite Morbid Angel, in other words, though there's enough good death metal songs here to satisfy the fans.

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