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Discussion in 'Earache' started by Lee_B, Oct 18, 2003.
"Unquestionably one of death metals pioneers, Morbid Angel has once again returned to prominence with a new album. Since their last album (2000s Gateways To Annihilation), the line up has been reduced to a three piece with guitarist Erik Rutan deciding to devote full time to his side project Hate Eternal.
The combined forces of Trey Azagthoth (Guitar), Steve Tucker (Vocals and bass guitar) and Pete Sandoval (Drums) still makes for a powerful death metal noise, not to mention surpassing some other recent releases from the group in recent times.
Cleansed In Pestilence (Blade Of Elohim) is a mighty return to the old Morbid Angel sound with lightning paced drums from Sandoval, while Azagthoths relentless speed riffing and innovative soloing is as eclectic and demanding on the senses as ever.
Next up is Enshrined By Grace is steeped in demonic tones, while Tucker has mixed his vocal dominance with plenty of variation with different levels of ungodly sounding growls. Beneath The Hollow, Curse The Flesh and Praise The Strength all utilise plenty of distinctive old school riff elements, while Stricken Arise and Within Thy Enemy speed the deciding factor for their solid metallic base.
Both Place Of Many Deaths and Abyssous offer brief moments of demented and harrowing sound effect interludes, while Memories Of The Past and Vicious March Of Rain The Conqueror are somewhat Victorian sounding with violin, guitar, piano and synthesizers providing the appropriate imperialistic sounding setting.
As the title suggests, Drum Check is a drum sound check from Sandoval. Yes, it sounds good, but why its included on the album remains a mystery. Adding to it is Azagthoths guitar solo number Born Again!
Heretic is a bold return to form from a band that wandered a little into the wilderness, but found the path in time before being lost forever."
"Morbid Angel has once again returned to prominence with Heretic. "Cleansed in Pestilence (Blade Of Elohim)" is a mighty return to the old Morbid Angel sound with lightning paced drums, while Azagthoth's relentless speed riffing and innovative soloing is as eclectic and demanding as ever. "Enshrined By Grace" is steeped in demonic tones, while Tucker has mixed his vocals with plenty of variation with different levels of ungodly sounding growls. "Beneath The Hollow", "Curse The Flesh" and "Within Thy Enemy" all utilise plenty of distinctive old school riff elements, and live up to Morbid Angel's high standards. Heretic is a bold return to form from the true death metal pioneers."
"My first observation of this album was that the drummer has a pair of the fastest and most precise feet Ive ever heard. I know producers use triggers and other effects to even out the sounds of fast double bass work but you still need to actually perform it physically at that speed. Pete Sandoval pulls it off with great style.
Especially on track 85, Drum Check, which is a studio bound drum solo, with a final comic element. This element is quite amusing, but the solo is astounding. Few drummers in the world have developed that level of speed.
Ultra fast and frenetic Death Metal is not my cup of tea, but fans of this institution of a band will be in hysterics over this new release. Even though theyve been around for years and years, they still sound hungry, angry and intensely aggressive. The music is complex, and exhibits blistering skill from all concerned.
Heretic gets." ****
"Rolling Stone magazine once placed Morbid Angel in their Top 10 Most Important Heavy Bands of All Time list alongside the mighty Black Sabbath, among others. They were right. Since they burst onto the scene with their classic debut Altars of Madness some 14 years ago, they have consistently managed to define and push the boundaries of death metal. That trend continues with their latest effort in their series of alphabetical named albums, Heretic.
It's a barrage of time changes, crushing riffs and brutal arrangements in trademark Morbid Angel style. The production is far better than the muddy sound on their two previous releases. Trey Azagthoth's guitar work is very clearly audible over amazing drumming from Pete Sandoval. In addition, Steve Tucker's vocals are much clearer in the mix this time around as well. The only tweak needed would be a boost in bass frequencies. As always, the album is broken up by a couple of soundscape-type pieces, but this time closes with a drum and guitar solo in soundcheck manner. It's egotistical for sure, but it cannot be denied that both Sandoval and Azagthoth are masters of their chosen instruments. This album is a must for any Morbid Angel fan, especially those who had losts interest in the band in recent years." **** 1/2
"This album clearly demonstrates that these Florida death metal veterans lack little when it comes to technical expertise and innovative writing ideas. It is extensive sonic territory which Morbid Angel have used these skills to cover that makes Heretic a modern metal masterpiece.
Opener 'Cleansed In Pestilence (Blade of Elohim)' is a drum-driven, full-tilt affair, and the expert production is such that every stroke of Pete Sandoval's masterful precision assault is audible. Few could pull off the blink-of-an-eye tempo changes in 'Enshrined by Grace' with such finesse, and the rippling textures achieved by Trey Azagthoth's tastefully layered contrasting guitar parts in the midsection of 'Beneath the Hollow' speak of a man fully aware of the full capabilities of his instrument.
The eerie soundscape piece 'Place of Many Deaths' conjures up visions of hell on earth, and is complemented admirably by the ambient 'Abyssous'." ****