Morbid Angel
Blessed Are the Sick


4.5
superb

Review

by AriDoe USER (15 Reviews)
May 5th, 2019 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sophmore high

There are few names more revered in death metal than that of Morbid Angel. The Florida legends helped pioneer and refine death metal to the point where the genre likely wouldn't be where it is today without them. Their 1989 masterpiece "Altars of Madness" didn't so much make a dent in the then burgeoning death metal scene so much as it left an enormous crater, immediately catapulting them into extreme metal royalty. The following two years of relentless touring propelled the band into mainstream attention and helped expose death metal to audiences across the world. Naturally, the stakes couldn't be higher for their follow-up album, as in the two years that followed the release of "Altars," death metal had grown from a niche underground movement to a large scale, worldwide phenomenon, and Morbid Angel would have to evolve as well if they were to stay on top of the flock.

"Blessed are The Sick" takes the ultra fast, thrashing, death metal of their debut and refines it while expanding their songwriting to include new dynamics. The album sees the band slowing down to a brutal crawl on several songs like "Fall from Grace" and "Blessed are The Sick/Leading the Rats," perhaps taking influence from fellow Florida death metal band Autopsy, who were also experimenting with slow tempos around the same time period. "Fall From Grace" especially shows off the band's more dynamic approach to songwriting, beginning with a lurching doom riff before erupting into a cacophony of blast beats and high tempo insanity and finally slowing down again into a bizarre spoken word section. It's a hell of a way to open the record and right away it shows that Morbid Angel mean business. The title track also features some very odd riffs that would foreshadow the more experimental directions that the band would take in the future.

The album isn't all doom and despair though, as songs like "Rebel Lands" and "Day of Suffering" are short, direct songs that burst forward with the same sense of intensity as their debut. They add a good sense of variety to "Blessed" and remind you that this is a band who can play just as fast and hard as the many other newer bands they inspired. Morbid Angel have also chosen to rerecord a few songs from their first demo, "Abominations of Desolation," including the album highlight "The Ancient Ones." They do a very good job adapting these songs to fit their new sound, Pete Sandoval's hyper aggressive drumming especially makes them feel like a step up from the original versions.

Indeed the performances here are all absolutely top notch. Guitarist and mastermind Trey Azagthoth really begins to hone in on his unique, alien style of riffing while also delivering some of the best solos of his career demonstrating a strong influence from classical music in his shredding. Vocalist and bassist David Vincent has evolved too, deepening his growl significantly since "Altars." Lyrically, he continues the to write about the usual themes of satanism and blasphemy, nothing out of the usual for death metal.

"Blessed" also sees the introduction of brief instrumental interlude tracks, something that would become somewhat of a signature for the band. There's about 4 of them counting the intro and outro, and I can't help but feel that a couple of them could have been cut, as they don't really contribute much to the album's overall mood. Still, its a minor complaint, and the interludes don't disrupt the experience nearly as much here as they do on certain subsequent Morbid Angel albums.

"Blessed Are The Sick" may not be the revolutionary, genre defining, masterpiece that "Altars" was, but it still manages to capture all of its predecessor's energy while expanding the band's songwriting and delivering a near equally fantastic experience. It's one of those rare instances of a band avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump after releasing such a monumental debut. By expanding on their sound, Morbid Angel kept themselves at the forefront of the death metal scene and crafted another classic of the genre that's an absolutely essential listen for any fan of extreme music.



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user ratings (1074)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Quattro Bajeena CONTRIBUTOR (5)
death metal was never the same...

Dethtrasher (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
May 5th 2019


12488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The most anticipated dm album that I remember, they were the big thing at the time



Good job, have a pos

Digging: Unfathomable Ruination - Enraged & Unbound

zaruyache
May 5th 2019


21659 Comments


that cleaned up artwork looks so great

Digging: Blue Noise - Everyone Goes Away Eventually

ChaoticVortex
May 5th 2019


869 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fan-fucking-tastic record, a classic of old-school death metal. Good review, pos'd.

Space Jester
May 5th 2019


7909 Comments


“that cleaned up artwork looks so great”

It’s also missing the band logo and album title so it’s technically not the album art? Unless there was a version released without it

CaptainDooRight
May 5th 2019


4208 Comments


who cares breh

Digging: Crepuscle - Heavenly Skies

Space Jester
May 5th 2019


7909 Comments


I’m all about accuracy what can I say

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2019


17246 Comments


Damn that's some sweet art regardless if it's official or not. Still gotta jam this.

Digging: Common Holly - When I say to you Black Lightning

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 6th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of my favorite dm records ever. The grooves here are unreal \m/

WretchedCacophony
May 6th 2019


1803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What do you mean who cares? People who actually look at shit and like things to be aesthetically pleasing. The art is there for a reason...

Digging: Lord Belial - Enter The Moonlight Gate

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 6th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[2]



RippingCorpse1986
May 6th 2019


3226 Comments


That's got to be one of my favorite album covers in metal. Hexenhaus' A Tribute to Insanity also uses this cover.

Good job with the review. A small suggestion would be that album titles should be italicised (Altars of Madness, Blessed Are the Sick), but other than that have a pos.

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 6th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

In Remenbrance.

RippingCorpse1986
May 6th 2019


3226 Comments


Abomenations.

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 6th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

lmao

RippingCorpse1986
May 6th 2019


3226 Comments


Should've posted lmenao I think.

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 6th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Where's Hawks when you need him? haha

Bloma
May 8th 2019


31 Comments


Could never get into this one for some reason. It sounds so weak and dull to me? It seems to get consistent love though, so I revisit it every now and again, but always turn it off. My favourite is Gateways, but really just these 4 tracks - 'Summoning Redemption', 'Ageless, Still I Am', 'To the Victor the Spoils', and 'Opening of the Gates'. And they're honestly some of my favourite songs of all time.

Morningrise767
May 8th 2019


1261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Absolutely love the drumming in Fall From Grace \m/

Digging: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

StrikeOfTheBeast
May 9th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Those blast beat sections are nuts \m/



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