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Morbid Angel - Abominations of Desolation
Review: Early versions of songs made classic on the first two Morbid Angel releases and one song of the third. If you are a collector these reveal several things: 1) the development of older rock style riffing (a la Judas Priest) mutating into more acerbic progressive styles, 2) the lead guitar of Trey Azagthoth in a more rationalistic mood, where it works through all of its phrases before concluding rather than elliding movements for listener clarity, and 3) where the development of strum-based riffing occurred (negative space from memory).
As in all Morbid Angel releases, the point of focus is the fast and flagrantly complex guitar fiendishness from Azagthoth, both in the form of architectural, nihilisitc, Slayer-style riffing and in organic solos of massive complexity. Mike Browning plays drums and does vocals, while Sterling Scarborough handles bass, but neither of these players are as strong as their more familiar replacements. In some instances, Browning's vocal inflection of rhythm seems more polished than the later work of David Vincent, but overall the style is far less defined.
Starting with a nonsubtle introduction of evil chanting (and response) in the rain of a storm, this release also reveals the album-wide goals Azagthoth had for his albums in their introduction, agitation, statements and resolution. The invocation enters the listener into a new world of sound; afterwards it is a lightning fast filmstrip of different geometries in riffs marching past the listener, in ripping bridges or speedy verses. Amazing artistry struggling in its nascent glory, "Abominations" is a classic need for every Morbid Angel fan.