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 4.32 | 47 ratings
Altars of Madness
Death Metal 1989
MORBID ANGEL Blessed Are the Sick album cover 4.16 | 47 ratings
Blessed Are the Sick
Death Metal 1991
MORBID ANGEL Covenant album cover 4.28 | 39 ratings
Covenant
Death Metal 1993
MORBID ANGEL Domination album cover 4.32 | 34 ratings
Domination
Death Metal 1995
MORBID ANGEL Formulas Fatal to the Flesh album cover 3.54 | 18 ratings
Formulas Fatal to the Flesh
Death Metal 1998
MORBID ANGEL Gateways to Annihilation album cover 3.88 | 20 ratings
Gateways to Annihilation
Death Metal 2000
MORBID ANGEL Heretic album cover 3.05 | 12 ratings
Heretic
Death Metal 2003
MORBID ANGEL Illud Divinum Insanus album cover 1.77 | 26 ratings
Illud Divinum Insanus
Death Metal 2011
MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained album cover 4.00 | 6 ratings
Kingdoms Disdained
Death Metal 2017

MORBID ANGEL EPs & splits

MORBID ANGEL Laibach Remixes album cover 3.50 | 1 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 3.15 | 6 ratings
Entangled in Chaos
Death Metal 1996
MORBID ANGEL Juvenilia album cover 0.00 | 0 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 3.55 | 9 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 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.

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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FMOTP
I rarely listen to death metal; Morbid Angel is the only "old school" death metal band I listen to regularly. I think my very high rating for ALTARS OF MADNESS has something to do with that fact. The creativity and musical skill that the band showed, starting with their first album, places them above almost every other band in the genre IMO. Although I'm far from the first person to say it, major credit has to be given to drummer Pete Sandoval. I can't imagine the skill it takes to play these constantly changing rhythms, even within individual songs.

Some have complained about the sound quality. I listened to ALTARS OF MADNESS on a decent pair of headphones (this is music that definitely requires attentive listening), and had no problems with the sound. Although Morbid Angel may have refined their approach on later albums, that takes nothing away from the brilliance of ALTARS OF MADNESS.

MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Kingdoms Disdained" is the 9th full-length studio album by US death metal act Morbid Angel. The album was released through Silver Lining Music in December 2017. It´s the successor to the much discussed and critizised "Illud Divinum Insanus" from 2011. There have been quite a few lineup changes since the predecessor as lead vocalist/bassist David Vincent has been replaced by Steve Tucker. The latter was also a member of Morbid Angel in the 1997-2001 and 2003-2004 periods and has recorded three albums with the band (the last being "Heretic" from 2003). Drummer Tim Yeung has been replaced by Scott Fuller (Abysmal Dawn, Havok, Annihilated), and guitarist Destructhor has also jumped ship. He hasn´t been replaced here, so guitarist and band leader Trey Azagthoth handles all guitars on "Kingdoms Disdained".

While "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)" probably made quite a few Morbid Angel fans scratch their head in disbelief, it was an experiment the band needed to do, but listening to "Kingdoms Disdained" it´s also obvious that Morbid Angel knew what their fans expected from them after their little experimental adventure and in that regard they chose the safe path this time around. So "Kingdoms Disdained" doesn´t feature any flirts with industrial metal or weird electronic music experiments, but instead features the trademark Morbid Angel death metal sound of the 1990s. It´s old school and brutal, but still rather complex and sophisticated death metal loaded with twisted riffs, screaming atonal solos (actually not as many as usual), brutal yet intelligible growling vocals, and quite a few tempo changes. It´s not easy listening death metal, and a few more catchy moments wouldn´t have hurt the overall accessibility of the album, but this is uncompromising death metal, so that´s more or less the premise and nothing unusual for the genre.

The material on the 11 track, 47:43 minutes long album is otherwise well written, intriguing, and powerful. Not quite in the league of their first four albums, but definitely on par with the other Tucker fronted releases and after the challenging experience of getting through "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)", it´s great to hear the band back on track, doing what they do best. The musicianship is as always on a high level. Tucker is not quite as distinct sounding as Vincent, but he is a pretty strong and commanding growler, and new drummer Scott Fuller delivers a powerful percussive attack. He has a great, and for the genre relatively varied drumming style. Azagthoth is...well Azagthoth. A lot of praises have been spoken of his inventive riffing style and solos over the years, and I can only join the choir here, and send more praise his way. As mentioned above a few more memorable and more straight forward riffs could have made some of the tracks a little more listener friendly, but on the other hand Azagthoth clearly does exactly what he feels is right for the music, and I always praise a bold and adventurous soul like Azagthoth.

"Kingdoms Disdained" features a dark, raw, and powerful sounding production, which is surprisingly organic since it´s Eric Rutan who is credited as producer on the project. I did not enjoy some of his early production jobs, but in recent years he has become quite a skilled producer. Some of the guitar riffs could have been more clearly defined as they sound a bit murky and low in the mix, but other than that "Kingdoms Disdained" sounds pretty great.

Upon conclusion "Kingdoms Disdained" is a high quality death metal release by Morbid Angel and a clear letter of content that the experiment of "Illud Divinum Insanus (2011)" was a one-off. "Kingdoms Disdained" is not what I would characterize as a standout release in the band´s discography, but it´s an important album because of when it was released. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MORBID ANGEL Kingdoms Disdained

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
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Unitron
The Pillars Crumbling...

Death metal pioneers Morbid Angel have finally returned with their first studio album since 2011's ill-received Illud Divinum Insanus. While I think that's a decent album for what it is, many fans didn't like the additions of an industrial sound and thought it was an overall weak effort. Frontman David Vincent has once again been replaced with the return of Steve Tucker, so fans probably didn't know exactly what to expect.

Thankfully, this is largely a return to the classic Morbid Angel sound that every old school death metal fan knows and loves. What you get is an absolute pummeling of brutal yet grooving riffing, constant machine gun drums, chaotic growls, and a couple fantastic new additions to keep it fresh. At times there are some massive syncopated grooves that wouldn't sound out of place on a Meshuggah album, and some classic rock/metal-styled guitar solos. In fact, the contrast between the crushing death metal grooves and almost 70's sounding guitar solos is my favorite part of the album.

"The Pillars Crumbling" is the best example of the aforementioned contrast. After the majority of the song crushes the listeners bones with its main crunching groove, the end of the song switches between pounding drums and kick ass solos that sound right out of a 70's or 80's guitar jam. As much as screeching death metal solos have their place, old school death metal mixes surprisingly well with even more old school guitar solos. Opener "Piles of Little Arms" also has one of these solos at the very end of the song.

Of course, the main focus of the album is absolutely crushing old school death metal of the best variety. Honestly, this is probably Morbid Angel's best album since 1993's Covenant. It's impossible to not headbang to pretty much the entire album, and it simply never lets up. Riff after riff, it's all represented well on the album cover. It's hard to pick highlights apart from "The Pillars Crumbling", which has easily become one of my favorite Morbid Angel tracks. "Garden of Disdain", "Architect and Iconoclast", and "Paradigms Warped" are a few of songs with some of the best and most massive grooves that the band has delivered. The latter especially has some killer bass lines, perfectly placed between walls of guitar sound.

Morbid Angel is back, and with one of the best modern death metal albums. Kingdoms Disdained blends the old school spirit with the brutality of bands like Nile and Meshuggah into a perfect mix. If you're looking for some crushing death metal that remembers what the genre is all about, this is an essential listen. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

MORBID ANGEL Altars of Madness

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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voila_la_scorie
One of those essential old school death metal albums.

Wait! ONE of those? ONE?

This little baby is apparently considered one of the most important albums in the developing death metal scene and gets mentioned alongside Death's "Scream Bloody Gore". The ethos behind the music was simple: destroy everybody! Reading the quote on Wikipedia by guitarist Trey Azagthoth, the approach to the music was to create music that would make people work a lot harder after seeing Morbid Angel perform. He wanted people to wonder what in tarnation was going on, write stuff that would make other bands go run and hide.

Morbid Angel's true debut was recorded late in 1988 and released in spring of 1989. They had previously recorded a debut album in 1986 but were unhappy with the results and went back into the studio in '88. The result is a monumental album that takes a bit of Death, Slayer, Kreator, and Bathory and surprisingly some inspiration from Pink Floyd and delivers music that is fast, tight, brutal, and fairly technical with lots of tremolo picked single-string riffs played both in lower tones and higher tones simultaneously. There are stand out heavy riffs, wild leads, abrupt stops and changes in tempo and rhythm, and basically in the sense described by Trey Azagthoth, music that took death metal in a new direction, or at least pushed it further toward technical death metal than what had been achieved before.

The Wikipedia article goes on to say how "Altars of Madness" completed stomped on the speed/thrash scene in Sweden and opened people's eyes to this new approach to extreme metal.

One of the things I like about this album is that the band adds small details to the songs to make them memorable, as opposed to a collection of all brutal and immensely crushing music. "Immortal Rites" starts off backwards and then flips around. The vocals sound like a deeper version of Quorthon of Bathory. The there is this part with what sounds like orchestral sounds and the music gets a horror movie soundtrack feel. "Visions from the Dark Side" has some slow heavy riffing that resembles early Megadeth or Metallica and "Chapel of Ghouls" drops into this haunted mansion type music in the middle before changing gears a slower Slayer "Hell Awaits" song.

It's easy to play this album through and just ride with the atmosphere but it won't take much extension of attention to catch how each song is constructed independently of the others. With some albums it's not so easy to hear the distinction from one song to the next, but Morbid Angel prove they can write songs and not just a style.

Given that the development of death metal in the mid to late eighties is still something I am discovering in small bits here and there, I can't say that I personally understand all the hype about this album. But I can identify its place in the timeline from Celtic Frost, Slayer, Possessed, and Death to later bands like Atheist, Immolation, Gorguts, and Cynic.

A monumental album in metal history? I won't argue that point. And I enjoy the album more with each subsequent listen.

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