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Morbid Angel - Covenant
Review: Morbid Angel rocked the death metal world with their first two albums, each revolutionary, the first from death metal, the second from the first. With most of the genre being at the non-virtuostic stage, Morbid Angel, with their characteristic oddball progressive bach rock approach, are extremely distinctive. Noone else creates music like this and nothing quite sounds like it - a tribute to the playing of Trey Azagthoth, a guitar genius in his own right, but also to the talent and musical prowess of the other bandmembers David Vincent on vocals and bass and Pete Sandoval ("the man with eight arms") on drums.
This album almost continues the progression of the first, but isn't as daring as their second, Blessed Are the Sick (the first, Altars of Madness, is mostly straight-up death metal in the Morbid Angel signature style) although it is a strong and well-conceptualized theory of songwriting in its solidity and yet openness as demonstrated in these impressive works. If the first four tracks don't tear out your rectum, the rennovation of tone in doom metal of the final four will probably appeal ("dirge metal" is perhaps the best name for this style).
There are quite a few experiments, from the use of real sung vocals on "God of Emptiness" to the experimental guitar work of the first half of the album. The punch drops out of it toward the end, however, even to the instrumental, which is interesting but like many black metal experiments, lacks the punch of its metallic counterpart. Be wary, however, that the "happiest song in metal," Angel of Disease, is here after previously appearing only on "Abominations." While the power of conception and instrumentalism behind this work remains powerful, it is not as tangibly far ahead of the rest as its predecessor, but stands undefeated by time as excellent and satisfying death metal; highly recommended.