Morbid Angel – Entangled In Chaos (1996)

Morbid Angel - Entangled In Chaos (1996)

With Earache Records promising us a re-release of this live album on vinyl in October, and an otherwise quiet week of upcoming relevant releases, I thought it might be a good idea to give this a more detailed look. Live albums are fundamentally interesting on a few levels – their attempts to capture something of the experience of a concert, their value as documentation of a period in a band’s career, the chance to possibly hear reinterpretations of favored songs, and so forth. Entangled in Chaos came out at the tail end of Morbid Angel’s commercial golden age and before the band tried to reinvent itself with Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. The product is low on references to the previously banal Domination for whatever reason, although whether that’s due to timing or creative reasons is beyond my knowledge.

These rerecordings end up more polished and standardized than the originals for the second time in MA’s discography, as the long holdovers from 1986 already got the Lemon Pledge treatment when they first entered the studios. Sometimes, the end results are rather stripped down; for obvious reasons studio adornments aren’t available, and Trey Azagthoth’s guitar solos are consistently altered from their original forms. Hearing the band’s earliest material with a production closer to Covenant or Domination is mildly interesting, to say the least, although the concessions to a live environment often cost these tracks some of their power and more musically interesting aspects. The performances are otherwise faithful to a fault, as such strict reproductions leave little room for reinterpretation… with the caveat that this is difficult to do successfully in a metal context and in this case might’ve resulted in an undesirable Domination II or similar.

There are not very many essential live albums in the realm of metal, and you can probably do without Entangled in Chaos in most cases. If you absolutely need to hear Morbid Angel playing relatively faithful but not particularly passionate renditions of their first era or are otherwise a collector, though, this rerelease may be to your tastes.

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17 thoughts on “Morbid Angel – Entangled In Chaos (1996)”

  1. This is not a bad album; in fact it’s a good one. Why then do I never listen to it? Because I want Trey/Dave era Morbid Angel and nothing else will do. Sorry, but this band will deservedly be lost to history after “Covenant”. Rutan did a really good job but the band needed a Brunelle or one of the Hoffman Bros on guitar.

  2. OliveFox says:

    As far as Death Metal goes, I cannot really think of any essential Live albums. Power/Trad seems better suited for live treatment. Dio, Maiden, Helloween and such.

    1. Anthony says:

      Malediction’s Chronicles of Dissention is essential simply because it’s the only way to hear most of Malediction’s songs, plus the sound quality is good enough that it functions well as a studio album anyway.

      Gorefest’s Eindhoven Insanity is also a worthy purchase for any devotee of Eurodeath.

    2. hypocrite says:

      Unleashed in the East! But yeah, death metal doesn’t seem to have any live albums that are as good as the studio recordings. Black metal doesn’t even really compute as far as that goes.

      1. morbideathscream says:

        There is Slayer’s Decade of Aggression, that’s the closest thing to a death metal band I can think of with a real good live album that matches studio recordings. There was also Live Undead, but that technically wasn’t live.

  3. obsessed motherfucker says:

    i need help from the music experts on anus

    for the past week ive been scouring the internet for a song i heard on a local radio station and keep coming up empty handed and frustrated

    this song features a vocalist that sounds EXACTLY like billy gibbons from zz top singing about a “white ghost”. the guitars from what i can remember had a slide guitar playing wierd eerie tritone like chords and another guitar picking chords one string at a time. reminded me alot of something captain beefheart would do but it cant be them.


    1. obsessed motherfucker says:

      listened to a little zz top today

      it sucked

      the vocals dont sound EXACTLY like zz tops but the enunciation is damn close but on “white ghost” the texture is more like lemmy’s growl

      surely someone besides me has heard this before as it seems historically important as proto metal if it did indeed come out in the correct time period

      the sliding tritone psych blues has taken hold of my soul and wont let go until i discove what it is i heard in my truck that morning

      /metal autism

  4. Intellectual impairment says:

    This was recorded as a farewell to Disco D. I agree with the review that it’s an interesting listen to hear the old songs with different production but it’s unessential for most collections. The cuts between songs make it sound as if it wasn’t recorded all at once and disrupts the flow of a live presentation. In the mid-stage of Morbid Angel, after they already gave us their best work, the least they could’ve done is present an authentic live album which wasn’t doctored to death.

  5. Generation Moron says:

    Entangled in dumb vocals. This is the end of rasps and the beginning of ECW shirts.

  6. Daniel Maarat says:

    Dave Vincent’s WWF introduction vox started on Blessed are the Sick.

    1. Gabe Kagan says:

      They didn’t really become prominent until Covenant, though. It was something of a gradual process.

      1. Anthony says:

        Morbid Angel’s vocals were perfect up until “God of Emptiness.” Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        1. morbideathscream says:

          Yeah, that bow to me faithfully part is atrocious. That was just a part of MA’s decline.

          1. Daniel Maarat says:

            All I can think of is Beavis and Butthead making fun of how bad Dave Vincent’s own death growl was. When he was imitating Mike Browning’s snarling chants he was fine.

  7. morbideathscream says:

    I have an old friend that bootlegged a Morbid Angel show during the altars era straight to the cassette tape, you know, the way they did things back then. It captured that live show perfectly and powerful as fuck too. Much better than Entangled in chaos. I almost prefer listening to that bootleg live tape over altars, I still have that tape somewhere. Entangled in chaos was never important to me(nor is any MA recording after Covenant) and therefore I never picked it up.

  8. horriblly painful dick torture says:

    The good thing about Entangled in Chaos is that the band had at least the good sense to skip most of the post-Covenant material (there is only one song from Domination). From what I understand, Trey didn’t care much for Domination either.

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