Altars Of Madness
A timeless example of genre defining death metal
Morbid Angel had been doing the rounds of the local Florida scene for sometime before they were picked up by Earache Records back in the day when bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, Godflesh and Bolt Thrower were also gaining momentum. Their debut, Altars Of Madness, would set a new standard in the emerging genre of death metal with it's furious pace and lyrical content based around ancient Sumerian religion.
Altars Of Madness, the first release in the alphabetically ordered catalogue from Morbid Angel opens with the backwards sounding intro to Immortal Rites and right away, the amazing speed of drummer Pete Sandoval (who replaced vocalist/drummer Mike Browning who went on form Nocturnus) becomes apparent. His lightning fast double kick and fill work is perfectly matched with the picking of guitarists Trey Azagthoth and Richard Brunelle. Vocalist Dave Vincent was still finding his way with his performance on this album as his voice wasn't quite as menacing and evil sounding as the three other albums he recorded with the group.
The lead work on tracks like Suffocation and Maze Of Torment was just a taste of things to come from the mastermind of Azagthoth. The ten original tracks are a blinding ball of speed, fury and aggression from start to finish. From the blast beats of Suffocation (which is the only track where you can actually hear Vincent's bass playing) to the brutal Maze Of Torment and crowd favourites Chapel Of Ghouls (which features the classic lines “Dead - your god is dead, Fools - your god is dead, Useless prayers of lies, Behold Satan's rise”) and Blasphemy, Altars Of Madness was only a taste of things to come.
Altars Of Madness was a landmark release when it hit the shelves in September 1989. It quickly took the number one spot on the UK Independent Chart. Coming up to almost 16 years on, it's an album that is as relevant today as it was back then with its sheer unrelenting brutality and strong song writing. It's a timeless release that puts many releases by today's extreme bands to shame.