Altars of Madness album cover
Altars of Madness

Morbid Angel


Pentagram-and-pitchfork logo, Dan Seagrave well of souls, no-nonsense font for the title – the cover of death metal’s ur-text set the tone for the entire genre practically by itself. Then you get into the music. Death and Possessed created the Necronomicon but Morbid Angel actually read from the damned book, unleashing a swirling vortex of demonic pain. The guitars and drums spin off into the void, totally disconnected from each other, while the voice of some unnameable entity reads a laundry list of your sins. Future acts play with variations on the theme but you only get to open Pandora’s box once.

Jeff Treppel

Tampa’s Morbid Angel — guitarist Trey Azagthoth, bassist/vocalist David Vincent, rhythm guitarist Richard Brunelle, and drummer Pete Sandoval — were one of the first wave of Florida death metal bands, along with Deicide and Death. They wrote songs that shifted gears rapidly and often, sometimes seeming like mere pretexts for Azagthoth’s squealing, over-the-top guitar solos, but Vincent’s fuzzed-out bass and Sandoval’s insanely fast blast-beat drumming were an equally powerful draw. They meant to overwhelm the listener, and this debut album succeeded and then some.

Phil Freeman

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