Monday, November 19, 2012

Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness

Artwork by Dan Seagrave

Classic metal albums have really begun to appear on Bandcamp. Relapse Records started with their alumni page (Amorphis, Incatation etc), soon you had The Season of Mist catalogue page (featuring Mayhem, Watain, and others), classic Manilla Road on the Shadow Kingdom Records Bandcamp, and even lost gems like this one from AntropomorphiA. New on Bandcamp are Osmose Productions (Enslaved, Immortal etc) and Earache Records with Napalm Death, and now Morbid Angel's debut Altars of Madness from 1989.

Also available on the Earache Records Bandcamp is Bolt Thrower's War Master from 1991 and it is interesting to compare the two albums. War Master sounds decidedly (and deliciously) old-school. Altars of Madness sounds remarkably modern with it's production tricks, unorthodox time signatures, and Trey Azagthoth's hallucinogenic soloing. David Vincent had not yet perfected his signature deep growl, here he utilizes a raspier style, sounding like a mix between death and metal vocals. And off course Pete Sandoval's drumming set new standards for just how fast you could play, easily matching Azagthoth's blistering riffing.

In his review from From the Dust Returned his eminence the Autothrall calls Altars of Madness an immensely influential work. And I would say that you can trace a line from this album and up to much of contemporary technical and progressive death metal. If you haven't checked this out yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 1989, death metal, Earache Records, Morbid Angel
  1. Interesting that one of the best songs on the album, Lord of All Fevers & Plague, were not included on the original vinyl release. Presumably because of length restrictions.