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A true Death metal classic
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.