MORBID ANGEL

Death Metal • United States
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Morbid Angel is an American death metal band from Tampa, Florida. The band formed as Ice and then as Heretic, before settling on the name Morbid Angel in 1984. The band is known as being one of the pioneers of the death metal genre, along with bands such as Possessed and Death. The band recorded their debut studio album, Abominations of Desolation, in 1986 though it went unreleased until 1991. Guitarist Trey Azagthoth also considers it to be a demo rather than an album. Because of this, Altars of Madness from 1989 is typically seen as their proper debut. Morbid Angel was the first death metal band to get signed to a major label, with 1993's Covenant being released under Giant Records, in association with Warner Brothers Records. This helped propel the band's popularity, with music videos from the album being featured on MTV's Beavis and Butthead as well as read more...
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MORBID ANGEL Discography

MORBID ANGEL albums / top albums

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness album cover 4.35 | 58 ratings
Altars of Madness
Death Metal 1989
MORBID ANGEL Blessed Are the Sick album cover 4.16 | 54 ratings
Blessed Are the Sick
Death Metal 1991
MORBID ANGEL Covenant album cover 4.36 | 46 ratings
Covenant
Death Metal 1993
MORBID ANGEL Domination album cover 4.29 | 40 ratings
Domination
Death Metal 1995
MORBID ANGEL Formulas Fatal to the Flesh album cover 3.69 | 24 ratings
Formulas Fatal to the Flesh
Death Metal 1998
MORBID ANGEL Gateways to Annihilation album cover 3.97 | 25 ratings
Gateways to Annihilation
Death Metal 2000
MORBID ANGEL Heretic album cover 3.12 | 17 ratings
Heretic
Death Metal 2003
MORBID ANGEL Illud Divinum Insanus album cover 1.82 | 31 ratings
Illud Divinum Insanus
Death Metal 2011
MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained album cover 3.68 | 11 ratings
Kingdoms Disdained
Death Metal 2017

MORBID ANGEL EPs & splits

MORBID ANGEL Laibach Remixes album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Laibach Remixes
Death Metal 1994
MORBID ANGEL Nevermore album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nevermore
Death Metal 2011

MORBID ANGEL live albums

MORBID ANGEL Entangled in Chaos album cover 3.05 | 6 ratings
Entangled in Chaos
Death Metal 1996
MORBID ANGEL Juvenilia album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Juvenilia
Death Metal 2015

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

MORBID ANGEL Scream Forth Blasphemies album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Scream Forth Blasphemies
Death Metal 1986
MORBID ANGEL Bleed for the Devil album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bleed for the Devil
Death Metal 1986
MORBID ANGEL Total Hideous Death album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Total Hideous Death
Death Metal 1986
MORBID ANGEL Thy Kingdom Come album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Thy Kingdom Come
Death Metal 1987
MORBID ANGEL Abominations of Desolation album cover 3.39 | 10 ratings
Abominations of Desolation
Death Metal 1991

MORBID ANGEL re-issues & compilations

MORBID ANGEL Love of Lava album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Love of Lava
Death Metal 1999
MORBID ANGEL Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes album cover 1.00 | 1 ratings
Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes
Industrial Metal 2012
MORBID ANGEL The Best of Morbid Angel album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Morbid Angel
Death Metal 2016

MORBID ANGEL singles (0)

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

MORBID ANGEL Reviews

MORBID ANGEL Formulas Fatal to the Flesh

Album · 1998 · Death Metal
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"Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Morbid Angel. The album was released through Earache Records in February 1998. It´s the successor to "Domination" from 1995 and features two lineup changes since the predecessor as lead vocalist/bassist David Vincent has been replaced by Steve Tucker, and guitarist Erik Rutan has also left. No replacement was recruited to fill Rutan´s shoes, so all guitars on "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" are handled by Trey Azagthoth. Completing the new trio lineup is drummer Pete Sandoval.

While "Domination (1995)" introduced more adventurous and slightly abstract songwriting ideas to Morbid Angel´s old school death metal sound, "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" is for the most part a more fast-paced, raw, and brutal release, and the creative songwriting ideas aren´t as dominant here as on the predecessor. Although there are a couple of heavier and slower paced tracks featured on "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh", the pace is predominantly very fast and the atmosphere frenetic bordering the chaotic. Tucker brings a more one-dimensionally brutal growling vocal style to the table, than the more varied and disctinct sounding Vincent, and while Tucker definitely gets the job done and done well, he isn´t a growler which stands out.

The album features 14 tracks and full playing time of 51:21 minutes. There are several shorter instrumentals on the tracklist though, so it´s not all 14 tracks which are "regular" death metal tracks. Most tracks are new original material written for the album, but the band have also opted to re-record "Hell Spawn" (retitled "Hellspawn: The Rebirth" here) which is a track, which was originally featured on the 1986 demo album "Abominations of Desolation" (an album which saw an official release in 1991) and they have pieced together the 9:44 minutes long "Invocation of the Continual One" from various unused songwriting ideas from the early days of the band. "Invocation of the Continual One" is a quite an interesting track, featuring some old school Morbid Angel style riffs, and a brilliant heavy mid-paced closing section, with Azagthoth playing a long solo on top.

The album features a powerful, detailed, and overall very well sounding production job. The sound is not quite as dark as the sound production on "Domination (1995)", and to my ears it´s a sound which suits Morbid Angel well. The material are generally well written and powerful death metal, but a few more hooks would have made the album a more varied and effective listening experience. I´m fully satisfied with the instrumental delivery of the music, and as mentioned above the sound production, but the songwriting simply is lacking memorable moments and Tucker generally isn´t able to deliver catchy vocal phrases like his predecessor often excelled in doing. It´s overall a slightly lesser release than the preceding releases by the band. With that said "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" is still a high quality death metal release and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

MORBID ANGEL Domination

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
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"Domination" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Morbid Angel. The album was released through Earache Records in Europe and through Giant Records (a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records) in The United States in May 1995. It´s the successor to "Covenant" from 1993 and features one lineup change as Erik Rutan (formerly of Ripping Corpse) has joined as second guitarist, making Morbid Angel four-piece with two guitarists again. It was the last Morbid Angel album to feature lead vocalist/bassist David Vincent (being replaced by Steve Tucker) as he left the band in 1996 after the conclusion of the touring cycle supporting "Domination". Vincent would return to the fold in 2004.

"Domination" is to my ears a transition album between the first three old school death metal releases, and Morbid Angel´s later releases which are often a little more abstract and experimental in nature. "Domination" has a little from both worlds although there actually isn´t that much straight forward death metal featured on the album. There´s an almost creepy atmospheric feel to some of the tracks and the guitar work is often quite adventurous and twisted (the guitar solos often lean towards the avant garde). The drumming is also less conventional compared to the drumming on the early releases.

"Domination" opens pretty strong with "Dominate" and "Where the Slime Live", which are probably the best known tracks off the album (a video was made for the latter). "Dominate" is a fast-paced brutal and aggressive death metal track, while "Where the Slime Live" is a much heavier death metal track, featuring an almost sludgy dragging riff style and effect laden growling vocals. It´s on "Eyes to See, Ears to Hear", that things start becoming a bit weirder though. It´s a pretty unconventional atmospheric death metal track with twisted riffs and interesting drum work. The rest of the album continues in that fashion and alternates between experimental ideas and more straight forward death metal.

"Domination" features a powerful sound production, which suits the music well. It´s a darker and more heavy sounding release than "Covenant (1993)" and it´s probably up to the ears that hear, if that´s a good or a bad thing. Personally I prefer the more defined and less pummeling production on the predecessor. The musicianship are as always strong and the listener is treated to high level performances from all involved. So upon conclusion "Domination" is a high quality release and an intriguing and unique death metal album both in the band´s own discography but also on the scene in general. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

MORBID ANGEL Covenant

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
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"Covenant" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Morbid Angel. The album was released through Earache Records in Europe and through Giant Records (a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records) in The United States in June 1993. It´s a significant release in the death metal genre, as it´s the first death metal album to be released by a major label, and being promoted heavily by said label. The promotional efforts spawned two music videos (for "Rapture" and "God of Emptiness"), which were professionally produced and aired frequently on MTV´s Headbargers Ball. It´s one of the best selling albums by a death metal artist, shifting more than 150.000 copies in the US alone.

"Covenant" is the successor to "Blessed Are the Sick" from 1991 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Richard Brunelle was fired from the band prior to the recording sessions for "Covenant", leaving Morbid Angel a three-piece for the recordings. The band chose Danish producer Flemming Rasmussen to co-produce/record the album with them at Morrisound Recording in Tampa, Florida and to later mix the album along with lead vocalist/bassist David Vincent and guitarist Trey Azagthoth at Sweet Silence Studios on Copenhagen, Denmark, as they appreciated his work on the early Metallica albums.

Bringing in Rasmussen meant a lot to how the album ended up sounding, as "Covenant" is an uncharacteristically detailed and well sounding death metal release. It´s still heavy and brutal, and it´s not too polished either, but it´s not the type of sound production which threatens to peel the skin off your face. I´ll go as far as to call it a sophisticated death metal sound production, but not a powerless/clean one. It´s like the volume is turned down just a notch compared to other more abrasive releases in the genre. Anyone who has seen Morbid Angel live knows that it´s how they sound live too. They were never the most loud playing death metal act out there, but have always opted for a slightly lower volume at shows.

"Covenant" features 10 tracks and a full playing time of 41:09 minutes. Morbid Angel wrote 9 new original tracks for the album (including the short atmospheric instrumental "Nar Mattaru") and re-recorded "Angel of Disease", which was originally featured on their unreleased 1986 album "Abominations of Desolation". The blackened thrashy nature of "Angel of Disease" sets it apart from the remaining tracks on the album, also because Vincent have opted for a more snarling and less guttural growling style on that particular track. It sounds a bit old school on an album from 1993, but it also provides "Covenant" with authenticity and a reminder of the seminal nature of Morbid Angel on the death metal scene.

Other than "Nar Mattaru" which to my ears is a bit of a pointless atmospheric interlude (thankfully it´s relatively short), all material on "Covenant" (including "Angel of Disease")) are high quality death metal tracks. Fast and sharp riffs (and some adventurous heavy riffs too), blistering abstract guitar solos, and a drum attack by Pete Sandoval which is extraordinary. Sandoval is not only an extremely fast drummer but also quite a creative one. Vincent is one of the most distinct sounding growling vocalists on the scene. Able to sound brutal while still pronouncing every word and delivering every phrase in an effectful intelligible manner. There´s even room and the necessary skills to experiment a bit with clean vocals on the epic closing track "God of Emptiness".

It´s a powerful way to end the album and "God of Emptiness" is definitely one of the highlights of this release, but it´s actually a bit hard to pick highlights when all tracks are of such high quality as the case is here. I´d much rather just recommend listening to the whole album from start to finish. "Covenant" is often mentioned among the most important death metal releases and to my ears that recognition is fully warranted. Not only because of the commercial history of the album, which is quite unique, but also because of the original nature of the music, the high level performances, and the powerful and sophisticated production job. "Covenant" has all the right elements in place to make it a classic, and Morbid Angel succeed in combining those elements to make the album just that. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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SilentScream213
Since its inception in the late 80’s, Death Metal has become one of the most adaptive and varied subgenres of Metal. The vast amount of styles and incorporations added to it are nothing short of amazing for what was originally a very strict and niche genre. I personally am a huge fan of everything the genre became and what was done with it, and what’s still being done and changed. But sometimes, there’s nothing better than some gold old fashioned honest to Satan Death Metal.

Altars of Madness is Death Metal perfected in its purest form. Every song just consists of masterful playing on every front, and only the very best of evil dissonant riffs shredding one after another. Songwriting and song structures are far from simple, adding in loads of substance between the all-out blast beat riffing. The vocals are some of the best in OSDM, very intelligible growls with decent lyrical writing to back them up.

There’s not much else to say about this beast. Pure Death Metal incarnate.

MORBID ANGEL Abominations of Desolation

Demo · 1991 · Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
Bootleggers have been a double-edged sword in the music industry as long as there has been recorded music.

You can look at them as leeches, profiteering off someone else’s work without the true creator getting the credit and payment due for creating the original work. They often release sub-standard products, ripping off consumers and tarnishing artists reputations with low quality product. Besides all that, bootlegging is illegal.

On the other hand, consumers often buy bootleg products, knowing full well they are getting an inferior product, simply because they love the artist in question. And obviously the bootlegger is supplying something the artist isn’t. Some artists, like Metallica, embraced the bootleggers. They acknowledged bootlegging would happen, and used it as a promotional tool during their early career. Wanna get your music out there? Get ‘em to share it, even if it’s ill-gotten. The ultimate celebration of this was Metallica’s glorious lo-fi tribute to their late bassist in “Cliff ‘em All”. (Let’s not mention the Napster debacle, OK?)

Bootleggers often force the artists’ hand to release, re-release or repackage old material too. Great for consumers, shit for artists. An example of this? Unleashed releasing a live album in 1993 because there were poor quality live bootlegs circulating. The band were brilliant live, but it was an unwelcome expense for the band so early in their career. Another example? The release of Repulsion’s “Horrified”, years after the band had split up.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Morbid Angel didn’t release “Abominations of Desolation” in 1986 because they didn’t like it. The production was thin and sub-par (produced by David Vincent, before he joined the band), and then Trey Azagthoth and Mike Browning had a falling out. Browning went off and formed the awesome sci-fi death metal band Nocturnus, while Azagthoth regrouped and rebuilt Morbid Angel. Most of the songs here were re-recorded or reworded for later Morbid Angel releases, and “Abominations of Desolation” was shelved for good.

Except it wasn’t. It kept popping up in bootlegs across the world. Hell, the bootleggers were bootlegging the bootleggers, with the audio quality taking a dive with each iteration And Morbid Angel’s label Earache were getting more than a little pissed off with it. In an attempt to put a stop to the highly collectable (imagine it on red, yellow, splatter, translucent cream, or picture disc!) but dogshit sound quality product, Earache released the album in 1991 with a warning sticker that it was NOT an new Morbid Angel album, but WAS taken from the original master tape.

So what do you actually get? Well. There’s a silly invocation called “The Invocation” as an intro to “Chapel of Ghouls”. Once the music starts, it’s obvious straight away the music is slower. Browning, while a great drummer in his own right, is no Pete Sandoval. There’s a slightly tinny edge to things like cymbals and lead guitars, and Browning’s vocals aren’t near as guttural as Vincent’s from “Altars of Madness”. On the positive side though, there’s something about Azagthoth’s and Richard Brunelle’s soloing which sounds slightly more unhinged than the re-recorded versions. There’s a rough, spontaneous quality which had mostly been smoothed out in the intervening three years.

And that’s basically the story of the album. Anyone familiar with Morbid Angel will know these songs. Everything here got reworked with new lyrics, new titles, or new arrangements on “Altars of Madness”, Blessed Are The Sick, “Covenant”, and “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh”, except the track “Demon Seed”. And is it worth picking up “Abominations of Desolation” just for that 2 minute 12 second track? Honestly, no it isn’t. However, this album IS worth picking up if you’re interested in hearing how songs and ideas develop from their rough or initial forms through to the finished product. None of these versions are superior to their later counterparts, although “Welcome to Hell” which became “Evil Spells” is at least the equal of the later version.

There doesn’t seem to be any indication that this was re-mastered or had any other such studio trickery applied in 1991, so from the sounds of it, and the limitations of the day, David Vincent did a pretty reasonable job, despite Azagthoth’s dissatisfaction. Would it have made a big difference if this had released in 1986 instead of 1991? After all, it would have predated Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore”, and would have been the first fully fledged death metal album. Probably not. No one was listening then. Or, not enough people were. Bands like Necrophagia and Repulsion were making similar sorts of noise at the time, but had tiny underground followings.

The extra few years saw the appetite for death metal grow, along with Morbid Angel’s fearsome reputation in the metal underground. It also helped that the band had secured a record deal, and were able to record “Altars of Madness” with a professional mix and at least a little bit of a recording budget. So really, this is for completionists only. But if you’re a Morbid Angel fan, you’re going to be a completionist anyway.

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