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Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness

1989 Earache Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-07

We all waited for this album to come out, worshipping the demo and just knowing that this was to be the end all/be all of metal as we thought it was. Did it deliver? Fuck yeah, Altars of Madness being the first metal album I deemed worthy to buy on CD (for the bonus remixes), being the die-hard vinyl maniac that I was back then. Hearing Sandoval's feet flying all over the place made me want to quit playing, knowing that it was hopeless to try and push the limits past what this inhuman guy was already accomplishing. 11 years later, it still holds the same weight that it did back then, rife with riffs that influenced a hundred bands and spawned a new generation of metal. Altars also contains some of my favorite metal sections ever, with the intros to Maze of Torment and Chapel of Ghouls being among my favorite moments in metal, period. Brunelle and Trey (probably more Trey) emerged as forces of fretboard fury, just warping their fingers into sonic destruction, all delivered along with Vincent's patented growls. It's pure genius, AoM being a true milestone in metal. And while it does have that less than ultimately heavy Morrisound production job, it does stand the test of time as one of the best death metal albums in history. Well worth the price of a case of beer.

Morbid Angel - Covenant

1993 Giant Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-07

A strangely produced album to me, it actually took quite a while before I could appreciate this album for what it contains. First off, it's a killer album, not as loose as Altars nor as experimental as Blessed seemed, but more direct and powerful. I HATE the snare sound though, every hit sounding like wood on paper, really just bugging the shit out of me for a long time. I would listen and shelve, listen and shelve for a couple of months, then one day it just stayed in my player, and I swear, it was played straight for 10 hours, and then, I got it. The fact that Trey is the solo guitarist here is not coincidental to the entire stripped down feel of the album. Solos remain, of course, but the emphasis appears to be on powerful speed, balancing everything out. So, maybe the production job is actually brilliant, but everything does seem flat, midrangey and compressed to me, much like Rasmussen's other albums, which I'm sure is the intent, Flemming being considered a master producer. So, I'm left with might may be my favorite Morbid Angel album to hear, a testament to my belief that most good albums need much more time to absorb and understand.

Morbid Angel - Domination

1995 Giant Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-07

I remember when this came out, the general consensus among people I knew was to avoid this at all costs, this being the first flawed MA attempt. In all fairness, the album's not that bad, but something is definitely amiss here. On the speed front, this is inhumanly fast, Pete Sandoval once more unneccessarily proving that he is the king of the blast, cranking things up another notch. The overall sound of the album is good, but much as the cover seems unfinished, the entire album seems patched together at times. Still, "bad" Morbid Angel is tenfold better than most anything else, and Domination, for all that it contains, good and bad, is still a strong album. Some of the best MA material to date is here, shining through on "slower" tracks such as Where the Slime Live or Caesar's Palace", but as a complete entity (the way I enjoy most albums), it seems like a step backwards from Covenant. Erik Rutan's presence is most welcome though, his tracks offered up among the best stuff on the album, and as I said, it's still a really good album, just not the greatness we've come to expect from these living legends.