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Heretic (2003) by Morbid Angel Review


A tip of the hat to the fans, with Trey coming out of virtual retirement to make this album 20 years after the band's inception. As one of the original death metal bands, Morbid Angel maintains its quality and pure vision. The riffs are blessedly sick, like a "hirsute appendage of the upper lip, with graspable extremities", while the instrumentals are blessedly sophisticated.

Maze of Torment, performed live at Wacken Open Air 2006. Almost as much fun as giving a handlebar moustache ride.


  • At first listen, the riffs sound like sludge. Slow, deep sludge like a mudslide after heavy rain. After a few spins, the riffs actually reveal more than mere distorted pick scrapes and palm mutes. More like the incineration of magma devouring livestock.

  • Quick tremolo rhythms emanate from the riffs. These tremolo rhythms are echoed by the flawless kick drum ostinati of Pete Sandoval. Pete and Trey Azagthoth are serious about living up to the Morbid Angel reputation, and Steve Tucker is not about to let them down.

  • Steve Tucker has the kind of death growls I admire. It is the rasp of Leviathan cleaning his throat. It is the bark of Cerberus. It is the tearing of angel wings. It would make rottweilers soil themselves. It would make a rabid ferret envious.

  • But all is not juvenile death metal. The band who once named Mozart as an influence are still blessedly sick, yet still blessedly sophisticated. Some tear-jerking er, atmoshperic instrumental tracks contribute to a greater concept that has something to do with the mystical Magician of the Tarot triangle and the majesty of the great old one, Cthulhu.

  • A curious addition is the drum check. Presumably it is producer Juan Gonzales who asks Pete Sandoval to play the kick drum. Pete goes off at a tangent. And by going off at a tangent, I mean he delivers a ripping drum solo. After some impressive blast beats and fancy cymbal work nearly the length of 'Free Bird', Pete finally gives up. Juan then says: “OK, Pete. OK, Pete. Now can I just hear your kick drum, please?”.

  • This is not a band trying to conquer the world, this is a band doing what comes naturally. As such, it lacks the juvenile energy of their early albums, but it is an enjoyable album for any fan of Morbid Angel because you can hear the band is having a whale of a time. A record made as if it were their last, just like all records should be made.

Track listing

Bonus tracks omitted.

  1. Cleansed in Pestilence (Blade of Elohim)

  2. Enshrined by Grace

  3. Beneath the Hollow

  4. Curse the Flesh

  5. Praise the Strength

  6. Stricken Arise

  7. Place of Many Deaths

  8. Abyssous

  9. God of Our Own Divinity

  10. Within thy Enemy

  11. Memories of the Past

  12. Victorious March of Reign the Conqueror

  13. Drum Check

  14. Born Again




machinehuman said…
Gosh! Didn't remember Morbid Angel.

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