Reviews : Albums : Morbid Angel, "Heretic"

Morbid Angel, "Heretic"

This is a Morbid Angel record, so by all counts the last thing it is going to do is suck. But, as far as being a top notch Morbid Angel record, that is a battle all but lost. Let me rant: first off, WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with Trey Azagthoth? I read liner notes, I don't know if you do, but I do, and I pay attention to what I read. There is more to CDs than just the music. The first two pages of the booklet of "Heretic" are a manifesto of incoherent babble about paradigms and the power of the mind that is just fucking retarded, ending with the line: "Whoo hooooooooooo, let's have some fun in this game called life!" What? Am I reading this bullshit correctly? Man, Morbid Angel were the fathers of scary satanic death metal, and now here is this weirdo sounding off like Tony Robbins (who Trey thanks in the thanks list. No shit.). Now I know that the satanic imagery and blasphemous lyrics were just part of the game, but I don't need self empowerment in my Morbid Angel. Okay, second; the lyrics (written by bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker) have absolutely no correlation, that I can find anyway, to the aforementioned babble. The lyrics contradict themselves from song to song, and frankly, are mediocre. Examples are songs titled "Cleansed in Pestilence," and "Enshrined by Grace" being back to back. Man, I don't know, maybe I am just expecting too much. On to the music.

Morbid Angel introduced me to extreme metal over ten years ago. "Covenant," probably the best death metal record ever, scared the shit out of me with its blatant image of satanic filth. And fuck, I have the cover of "Blessed are the Sick" tattooed on my damn shin (part of a music themed leg sleeve). After the first 3 albums, and then "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh," Morbid Angel are pointless to me. Sorry. Now, this record is good, cause fuck, its MORBID GODDAMNED ANGEL, but "Heretic" just makes me want to listen to old Morbid Angel. The songs here have no identity. After the first three cuts, everything melds into stop/start technical death metal, with horrible guitar tone. This buzzy/tuned to the key of ass tone, sometimes sounding like Nile, sounds like Trey is pick-sliding all the riffs instead of picking them. Morbid Angel laid the fucking pipe of the death metal sewer, then got stagnant, and now it seems as if they are trying to play catch up to the super heavy (Nile, Immolation) and super technical (Malignancy, Aborted), with all the stop/start blasting, and weird rhythms. I don't know, it is really good, but I honestly have no interest in it. There are plenty of interesting pieces on here, the slow, spacey lead in "Enshrined by Grace" fucking slays. The vocals are great, even though in my eyes Tucker will never match David Vincent. The blasting of "Stricken Arise" is very reminiscent of the mighty "Rapture." When I hear this record I know I am listening to Morbid Angel, and I know that Trey Azagthoth is playing guitar, but this CD is, to be put simply, boring. And last, the 6(!) instrumentals are completely unnecessary. Just because you are noodling around with samples, loops and a keyboard doesn't mean that the output you create belongs on the new Morbid Angel record. And just because you play a killer wankfest/drum solo, do not devote an entire track to it.

Maybe I am being harsh, especially since I love Morbid Angel, but I do not need this CD. This is a step, but I wouldn't be put out if Morbid Angel pulls an Emperor or an Immortal and gets out before they totally fuck up. My two cents.

Standout Tracks

   curse the flesh
   enshrined by grace
   cleansed in pestilence