Thursday, July 9, 2015

Album Recommendation: Morbid Angel "Heretic"

  Morbid Angel’s last album, Illud Divinum Insanus, was not really well received by the fans. There were a few who voiced positive opinions about the album, but for the most part fans just tore that album to shreds.
    I personally was split on how the album sounded with half the album being decent and the other half being not to my liking. The criticism of Illud Divinum Insanus for some reason reminded me of how I have heard some fans talk about the band’s 2003 release, Heretic. For those who do not know, Heretic was the last album to feature Steve Tucker on vocals and bass before David Vincent returned to the band. Well, with David out and Steve replacing him again, I feel like the time is right for me to evaluate Heretic and express my opinions about the album.
    I think Morbid Angel is a consistent band overall. Yes, their earlier years are iconic and old school death metal fans secretly scream inside like teenage girls whenever they hear songs from, “Altars of Madness.” However, the albums that Morbid Angel put out in the later part of the nineties were no throw away albums. When Steve Tucker came in for, Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, I definitely think the band needed a change and the introduction of a new singer/bass player worked.
    Although Heretic maybe be no Altars of Madness, the album is still a slamming death metal release worth listening to. The line-up of Steve Tucker on vocals/bass, Trey Azagthoth on guitar and Pete Sandoval behind the kit, was a creative force that did not waste their talents when recording this album. Also, the production for Heretic was not a complete failure either. I really liked the recording for Trey’s guitar, because the riffs vividly stood out on this album and had a very raw sound at times. Even the drums which sometimes in death metal get recorded way too loud and drown the other instruments out in the process, seemed to work fine for each song.
    Another point to bring up about the album is that most of the songs are down right brutal. The opening riff in, “Cleansed in Pestilence,” is unbelievably extreme and evil sounding. There are a few odd moments on this album such as, “Memories of the Past” and “March of the Rain Conqueror.” I do feel, “Memories of the Past,” is a creative instrumental, though I can see where some fans who just expect Morbid Angel to play loud aggressive death metal might not really dig it. With this album I find at times the band is trying to go for a cinematic theme. “Place of Many Deaths,” sounds as if the band is trying to write a score for the next demonic horror film. Interesting fact to point out is that the song, “Enshrined By Grace,” was featured on the soundtrack for the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You can consider that last fact a positive or negative dependent on how you viewed the movie. I thought the song was was entertaining to say the least. 
    Overall I think Heretic is a decent release and by far better than Illud Divinum Insanus. There is even a track on Heretic that features Pete Sandoval performing an insane drum solo. Who would not want to hear one of death metal’s greatest drummers laying down some awesome beats? In the end, Heretic is based on what you prefer musically from Morbid Angel. The album is by no means an exact continuation of their early old school death metal days, but the album is not some out of the box crappy release.
    Are you a Heretic lover, or do dislike the album? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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