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Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness

Picture disc, 2006 reissue

Happy 20th birthday, Altars of Madness. The record is actually one of my least favorite by Morbid Angel. It has crackling performances, catchy songwriting, and the band’s best production besides Gateways to Annihilation. But it lacks the majestic atmosphere of later records. That infamous murk contributed to Morbid Angel’s sick ambience. The dryness of Altars feels sterile in comparison. Some parts are cheesy – the opening riff of “Maze of Torment,” the waltz section of “Chapel of Ghouls.” The CD has three unnecessary remixes tacked on at the end. And why was “Lord of All Fevers & Plagues” a bonus track? It’s arguably the best song on the record. Still, it’s a thrill to hear a young band so potent. Morbid Angel weren’t kings of death metal yet. Altars of Madness was the beginning of their coup.

– Cosmo Lee

Maze of Torment
Chapel of Ghouls

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