5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2003
One of the top five death metal albums of all time, this monster towers over most releases of its ilk. There are often arguments over whether this or 'Altars Of Madness' is Morbid Angel's classic album. A parallel can be drawn between these arguments and the 'Reign In Blood' vs. 'South Of Heaven' debate. Like 'South Of Heaven' was a progression for Slayer after the breakneck pace of its predecessor, 'Blessed Are The Sick' was a direct progression for Morbid Angel. There wouldn't have been much point in them putting out another record like 'Altars Of Madness'. That album was famed for its sheer brutality but, for my money, this album is far better because of one thing: variety.
Following the obligatory death metal intro - one and a half minutes of static over which you can just about make out some strangled voices and guitar effects, 'Fall From Grace' kicks in with one of the sickest, most discordant riffs you will ever hear. Just as you are becoming accustomed to this, the main riff kicks in, which is a faster, Slayer-influenced affair. A blastbeat arrives without warning, then gives way again to a doomy, slower riff, before a groove is introduced at around 2:15. Of course, this again doesn't last long and another riff heralds the arrival of a Kerry-King style tremelo solo. More monstrous riffing comes and goes before the song ends... And that's just the first song. Phew!
The rest of the album is equally impressive, with David Vincent's vocals the most evil sounding ever committed to record. His lyrics may not be to everyone's taste (he seems to have an unhealthy disregard for the world's major religions) but to be honest, no-one takes satanism that seriously at the best of times, let alone when its as cartoon as here. Whilst on the subject of lyrics, interestingly, Morbid Angel were one of the first bands to adopt Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos and incorporate it into their lyrics. Anyone who has read 'At The Mountains Of Madness' will recognise the significance of the flute that ushers out the title track. If you haven't read it, suffice it to say you'll never look at the flautist in an orchestar in the same way again after hearing this.
A true classic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2004
While this is not my favourite Morbid Angel album, it is clearly a very good one. You can hear the transition in style from Altars of Madness to their later, more distinct sound, with the introduction of atmospheric instrumentals, and slower, darker songs like Blessed are the Sick/Leading the Rats.
There is some strong material on this release, being the one that saw them starting to break the mould, but it wouldn't be until its successor Covenant, that we saw them becoming possibly the best band in their genre. 'Blessed are the Sick' is essential to any Death Metal fan with its blinding speed sitting in close proximity to its bleak despair and dark fury.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2002
This in my opinion is one of Morbid Angel's best albums and certainly an adventurous one...
Obviously as you'd expect, the riffs are doomy and hyper speed at times, mixed with Pete Sandoval's bionic blast beating and ofcourse, David Vincent's bowel scraping vocals...
Its hard to under estimate the power of this album, the drumming and soloing in particular stand out as always...
All tracks here are great (even if the keyboard tracks are a tad strange!) and in particular Fall From Grace, Brainstorm, Day of Suffering and Unholy Blasphemies stick out...Although there is no filler here, and Desolate Ways- Rich Brunelles brilliant acoustic piece is a nice contrast with the brutality of the usual songs
Morbid Angel fans should already own this, and so should any real death metal fan, and if you don't? GO AND BUY IT NOW!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This album was first given to me back in 1992 i would say and for a young lad who was into guns n roses,skid row and metallica this was something of a shock,never before had i heard such anger,spite and evil and sheer heaviness on a record in my life.But somehow it was what i always wanted to hear,over the following years death metal has become a genre i have walked in and out of but blessed are the sick is an album i will always admire.
It is a slower album than you may think given that it is regarded as a death metal masterpiece and there is a doomy feel to it,but make no mistake this is death metal from a band that had the powers back in 1991 when this was released.David vincents vocals were gutteral but strangely audible,the riffs were relentless and there is a feeling of a death metal band trying something just a little different here.
The great songs on here include brainstorm,thy kingdom come and rebel lands.What works so well for this album is that the songs are shorter than latter day morbid angel so the interest factor is maintained,i have never been keen on 7 or 8 minute death metal songs,the ferocity is such that it should be contained in shorter,leaner songs so there you have it,blessed are the sick is an album that defined a genre and cant be ignored.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
For well over a decade now Morbid Angel have been battering us with some of the most forward thinking, varied and musically competent death metal the human race has ever produced. As a spotty, long-haired teenager I was obsessed with them and their occult image. Now as a clean-cut, 29 year old civil servant who recently heard their latest offering I was inspired to go back and buy up their back catalogue on CD.
Back in the days Blessed are the Sick was the first Morbid Angel album I ever heard. After the blistering pace and intensity of Altars of Madness it immediately alienated many extreme metal heads. What a shame, because for its time and genre it is an album of truly breathtaking scope, variety and production. Amongst, admittedly talented peers such as Carcass, Entombed and Deicide, Morbid Angel were the only band who had the guts to fully utilise a clean, tight production, decipherable lyrics and numerous melodic segways making use of non-rock instrumentation.
Blessed are the Sick is, all in all, a text book lesson on how to do a heavy album well. A distorted, loop driven intro brings things around to first track 'Fall From Grace' which right away showcases a breathtaking mix of tempo changes, catchy riffing and ridiculously fast and accurate drumming. From here the tone for the album is set. There is no repetition, no treading water just songs which at times reach levels of catchiness never seen before or since in death metal (see Rebel Lands, They Kingdom Come, Unholy Blasphemies, Ancient Ones).
As the songs progress one is reminded of the true brilliance of Trey Azagthoth's guitar playing. He truly was (and is) the death metal Jimi Hendrix. Although rhythmically fast and accurate, when he solos he switches to a noisy, bendy, almost freeform style of playing that serves to give Morbid Angell an almost bluesy quality which eluded all other bands of the era. Trey is often thought of as the key member of Morbid Angel, but on these earlier albums David Vincent is an awesome presence. Possibly the best ever vocalist in death metal he retains a brutal edge along with a quality of diction which makes the vast majority of his lyrics immediately decipherable.
So all in all if you are interested in heavy music either past or present or even if you are just looking for some great guitar work then this album deserves its place in the history books.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2002
There are some excellent Angel tunes here, very much in a similar vein to their later stuff. But the album is let down by a horrible production - it doesn't sound muffled, not at all, it just sounds really quiet and weak. When played against "Covenant" and "Domination", "BATS" just sounds like a mild-mannered person trying to be heard over two lager louts.
Four stars for the music, -1 star for the production. Not their best album in my opinion.
on 16 September 2011
There must be loads of different versions of this album out by now, not least the latest celebratory digipak reissues from Earache to kind of trumpet their latest creation; Illud Divinum Insanus. This version came out in 2009 and is a two double sided CD and DVD set, this is all very lavishingly presented in a nice digipak format -excelling what has always been one of the bands best artwork covers. So whilst there is no extra songs or bonus tracks dug out for this one-off CD/DVD edition or the music specially remastered in this rendition, the emphasis appears to be more on the DVD. "Tales for the sick, a closer look" which should delight the MA fan or the collector with it's wealth of material is on the other side of the studio disc.
There is quite a hefty choice selection encompassing 10 scene choices.] Including a fascinating look into the making of the album, the cover and image of Blessed are the sick, backround of live show, either with us, inspiration, making the video, at war with weakeners, the band merchandising, Tampa scene and finally who is Morbid Angel? Even for the casual death metal fan then it's probably worth picking up but this is definitely seems more aimed towards the hardcore MA fans. It's not very cheap either these days or easy to get hold of with the passing of time. Getting what edition of this album will ultimately be the choice of the fan and what edition caters best for their needs as there plenty already out on the market.
on 23 November 2009
Truly an album that has stood the test of time, and that can't be said for all first wave Death Metal fans. Even now it still sounds fresh, heavy and like no other band. The secret to this is the high technical ability of the whole band, Azagthoth and Sandoval are amongst (if not) the best in their separate fields, Brunelle holds his own and Vincent supplies the voice and a lot of the evil sounding lyrics. My one problem with the album is the beginning of a lyrical move towards a more fantastical preoccupation with Sumerian gods, where AOM contains so much anti-religious fury (which is very easy to understand), once the band start writing about other gods it then seems a little hypocritical. Why are Sumerian gods any better than any other kind?
Having said that, as with any Death Metal band the lyrics are secondary and the vocals create a feeling that permeates the songs with a certain aura. When the music sounds this vicious and fast there is no better way to accompany it than with David Vincent's vocals, if evil was more than just a man made construct then this would be the soundtrack.
Where many Death Metal albums contain a few strokes of magic in amongst a samey 30 minutes of death this album works as a whole interesting piece of music that stands up well 18 years down the line.
on 8 January 2010
This album is one of the great Morbid Angel-albums, and I was really looking forward to getting this on vinyl. My enthusiasm was more or less lost when I got the album and realized it was a picture disk with crappy sound. There is a constant low-to-midrange humm on this album, which interferes with the music. If I had known it was a picture disk, I would not have bought it. I hope Amazon can categorize vinyl not just as vinyl, but as vinyl and picture disks in the future.
That said, the MUSIC on this album is absolutely great. Pity about the quality though
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2000
This is the first of Mobid Angel's albums that Trey used his 7-string guitar on. I must say that I found this album hard to get into, but that was due to the non-commercial, and non-catchy riffs. As the usual Morbid Angel style goes, this is a monster of an album. The songs on it are excellent, the guitar riffs are brilliant, and the drumming of Pete 'Commando' Sandoval are second to noe (as always). So, as Morbid Angel are one of the originators of Death Metal, the best thing about them as been the fact that they've always benn the same, but different. The thems that they use are always more involved and thought out, and the lyrics are always excellent. Add to that their imposing live form, and it's easy to see why this band are still making records, and why they were one of the first on a major label.
The title track is one of the highlights of this album, but, anything could be considered excellent, as the whole album rocks. A huge slab of the most technical, fast and pounding Death Metal of it's time.