Morbid Angel
Altars of Madness



by BalSagoth USER (1 Reviews)
July 9th, 2007 | 6 replies

Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album is a revolutionary one, as it had an immense impact on the course of metal. Twisted, raw, demented and completely unrelenting. The band has a good ear for dynamics and song-craft but still sound like they're on crack AND speed, as they're tota

Back in '89, most grindcore enthusiasts were invariably drawn to the sloppy, speedy and succinct blasts of tearing noise brought to them by Napalm Death, Sore Throat, Carcass and other crusty UK bands. A few years earlier in the states a handful of hardcore bands such as Siege, Negative FX and Deep Wound were creating their own forms of simple sonic mayhem. Mick Harris' and Dave Grave's one foot blasts were the fastest anyone had dared to (or could) drum previously, this would all change, as a band would come out of the bowels of the Florida swamps to transcend grindcore and further separate Death Metal from the traditional genres. The Death Metal underground was still an 'underground' phenomenon in the mid eighties, even in the metal sense of the term from '82 to '88. By then, Morbid Angel was hardly unknown throughout the world by demo collectors and cellar dwellers, having spread their bastardized take on the music of Death and Possessed far and wide. Record companies were repulsed by the bands violent and rabid following, and its adamant occultism and anti-christianity. They were also disturbed by the band's tendency to desecrate graves, churches, mutilate their own limbs w/ razors and eat earthworms before shows. Morbid Angel's now infamous debut is largely influential, and a cornerstone of USDM. It was the first death metal LP to incorporate the grindcore 'blastbeat' into its song structure. Trey Azagthoth's rhythm's are tireless and complex, continually shifting, his spidery leads are serpentine in the way they move in and out of the crushing wall of sound the drums and bass provide. His tone is strangely blunt and muddy, similar to black metal production. Morbid Angel were leagues ahead of most of their current Floridian peers in terms of musicianship and conviction. The band is monstrously bottom-heavy, yet more fleet-footed than their contemporaries at the time. David Vincent's raspy snarls recall the vocals of Evil Chuck Schuldiner, Mantas and Jeff Becerra. Riff-intensive song writing (Azagthoth wrote more riffs per album than many other guitarists do in their entire careers), lethal lead work, and the devastating barrage of drumming courtesy of Sandoval combine to form a true classic. Convoluted and eccentric song structures are formed by various tempo and rhythmic changes (the riffs kill). Sandoval's drumming is devastating. He is incredibly technical and fast, without triggers he manages to outperform and brutalize the attempts of all modern extreme-metal drummers, his drumming is more diverse than his work with Terrorizer, but more technical. Fills, blasts, snare abuse, subtle cymbal work, and other intricacies whilst remaining brutal. I will spare you from a track by track review, which is pointless, take this album as a whole. Stand out songs: All of them, regardless newbies should check out Chapel Of Ghouls, Immortal Rites, Damnation, Blasphemy (Of The Holy Ghost), Maze Of Torment. The production on the album is raw and muddy, don't expect anything pristine, the instruments still retain clarity though, except the bass which is unfortunately buried in the chaos. David Vincent plays some complex runs and counterpoint, and doesn't just follow the guitars. The leads are sporadic but slice into you like razors. Think of them as more maniacal yet refined takes on Kerry King's whammy abuse. The leads show some obvious classical influences. In conclusion, great riffs, great drumming, clever if unspectacular bass, and of course solid song-writing. A true pioneering release, metal as a genre wouldn't be the same without this. Buy or die.

user ratings (1447)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Altmer (4.5)
    Domination. Slaughter. Satan. You know this, you love this, you need this album....

    ZombicidalMan (5)
    Altars Of Madness is an album that, at one time, pushed the limits of metal, and changed t...

    superpeer (4)

    DragonHeartstring (4)
    Essential early death metal that marks a step forward for the genre but is unfortunately v...

  • dopevoid (2)
    Influential? Of course. Good? Hardly....

    TheEnigmaPrognosis (3)
    The album in which every other in the genre is judged by, for better or for worse....

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 9th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

My first review.. bah.. the summary got cut off.

TBT reviews are boring and painfully uneccessary, so I didn't f@*#ing bother.

July 11th 2007


ever heard of paragraphs? i voted however, content-wise it was greatThis Message Edited On 07.11.07

January 13th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0

I apologize for the format, no need to be so hostile :p

January 16th 2009


ya fix the paragraphs, NOW.

July 6th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

daaaaayum dis sh!t iz tight

Digging: Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained

January 19th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

best album ever recorded

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