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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morbid Angel Still In The Game
I have been M.A. fan since Altars, quite frankly I was losing faith in these guys since Domination. That album,with the exception of a few cuts just lacked something. Formulas was a good album, but it had it's share of bummers as well. Gateways was decent, had a couple of choice numbers but was still below par for these guys. I liked Tucker's vocal work (better than...
Published on November 28, 2003 by Wayne A. Brokaw

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars different
MA have been my favorite band in the world since I first heard them in 1990. Their first few albums were some of the most mind-blowing recordings ever, and established the benchmark that all other extreme metal bands aspired to, but somehow couldn't reach or surpass.....until lately. I've listened to this new album probably 4 times since yesterday, and the bonus disc...
Published on September 24, 2003 by Dave


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morbid Angel Still In The Game, November 28, 2003
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
I have been M.A. fan since Altars, quite frankly I was losing faith in these guys since Domination. That album,with the exception of a few cuts just lacked something. Formulas was a good album, but it had it's share of bummers as well. Gateways was decent, had a couple of choice numbers but was still below par for these guys. I liked Tucker's vocal work (better than Domination) but I thought he just didn't cut it. Well he changed my mind with Heretic. No more monotone vocals...all the colors from Blessed are back! He did a hell of a job laying down the vocals for this album. Excellent inflections pepper every passage making it one of thier better better vocal albums. The music? What an improvement from the uni-tempo drone of Gateways. All the dynamics are back with musicality that rivals Blessed (my favorite album). The polrythmic riffs are extremely creative and memorable. This is definitely some of Trey's most inspired work, I also love the found tonal attack of his guitar. Pete is at the top of his game also, he hasn't played like this since Covenant. My only quarrel is the lack of bass presence, only a minor quibble. This is Morbid Angels second breath!! They have me eagerly awaiting thier next album instead of dreading it (fearing they would tarnish their rep.). Heretic stands as one Morbid Angel's best albums to date...an absolute brilliant comeback!!!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars different, September 24, 2003
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
MA have been my favorite band in the world since I first heard them in 1990. Their first few albums were some of the most mind-blowing recordings ever, and established the benchmark that all other extreme metal bands aspired to, but somehow couldn't reach or surpass.....until lately. I've listened to this new album probably 4 times since yesterday, and the bonus disc once. Maybe I should have waiting a few weeks before reviewing it, because every new album this band puts out always sounds weird to me at first, but then over the course of a few weeks it grows on me like a fungus and I become addicted to it. Here's my thoughts right now: It reminds me most of the Formulas...album. The songwriting style on this album sees the band returning to their more chaotic, technical side. If you've followed this band's career as I have, this was to be expected. This band seems to alternate from a chaotic, technical album to a slower, more sludgy one and back again. It seems that Altars..., Covenant, Formulas..., and now Heretic have all had a more up-tempo, whirlwind frenzy mood while Blessed..., Domination, and Gateways... have taken on more of a slimy, creeping pestilence kind of feel. All albums are equally brutal, however, and even the slower albums still contain fast songs here and there, and vice versa. Another reason it reminds me of "Formulas" is because the band is back as a three piece, and they've chosen the end of the album to place a series of soundscapes, drum tracks, and other assorted quirky stuff, just like they did on Formulas. Heretic also has a bonus disc similar to Love of Lava which came bundled with Formulas, and it contains a collection of unmixed Heretic tracks with no vocals on them and some of Trey's guitar solos at the end. Why the band chose to include this, and hence jack up the retail price of the cd I do not know. Maybe they thought there weren't enough death metal karaoke cds:) It also makes me wonder why they decided to put the track "Born Again" on the main disc. This track is the guitar solo pulled from the song "Secured Limitations" from their "Gateways..." album. It would fit right in on the bonus disc. Strange why they would put it on the main disc.
The reason I make the remark "until lately" above is because of this. Morbid Angel have always been about doing their own thing and ignoring trends, pressure to conform, etc., but when I think of this disc next to some of the offerings from younger, fresher bands that are around today, I can't help but feel this disc doesn't jump out and grab me the way some of the more recent stuff from Hate Eternal, Vader, Diabolic, etc. does. It's technically brilliant as always, and their performance of the material is flawless. It has all their signature elements, and Steve Tucker's voice is constantly improving from his "Formulas.." debut (although a little too low in the mix this time), so maybe it will grow on me. I just can't find a song right now that I want to keep coming back to, but I'll give it more time. Right now it just sounds unfocused to me, and the riffs, although creative, don't really sound memorable or catchy.
From reading the liner notes, I get the impression that MA are a more happier, fun-loving band these days. This is certainly evident from the song "Drum Check", which is a two minute drum solo where the engineer tells Pete "Can I hear your kick drum, please?" so he can get a level, and Pete hits it an few times, and then launches into a percussive frenzy for two minutes before finally calming down, to which the engineer, who has been waiting very patiently, calmly says "Ok Pete, Now can I just hear your kick drum please?" The band really seems to be having fun these days, with Trey talking all about his Quake 3 clan and being all into Tony Robbins and inner peace and stuff, but to be honest, I like their music better when they're ticked off.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good despite the problems, February 24, 2004
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
Morbid Angel are about as close to a solid institution as their genre has ever had. Guitarist/leader Trey Azagthoth writes pounding and uncompromising music without making it stale and formulaic. Drummer Pete Sandoval is nothing short of legendary--the best in the business. It says quite a bit about them that their new releases generate a "buzz" at all like this one, especially considering how small a market the extreme metal business is.
Azagthoth's biggest flaw is in his ego. Extraordinary bassist/vocalist David Vincent was forced out of the songwriting equation and soon left the band in the late nineties, which hurt their music. Later, clashes with new bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker caused him to leave the band, and exceptional second guitarist Erik Rutan left for more musical freedom with his own outfit "Hate Eternal." Azagthoth can rail all he likes about how Morbid Angel is "his" band (he's certainly done it enough) but the results of such problems are never good-- one man exerting all the control damages the chemistry in the music.
Azagthoth's excesses are on full display here, but it doesn't destroy the album as it did in "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh." The mix makes the recently re-acquired Tucker's bass barely audible, which was a poor decision, especially if it was the slight to Tucker that it seems to be. The album is short on songs-- only seven or eight real, full ones over the whole of both discs. Azagthoth tries to make up for this in two ways: weak original intrumentals on the first disc, which are pure filler (aside from Sandoval's drum track) and by loading the discs full of self-indulgent bonus tracks of either his solos all by themselves or the songs of the album with the bass and vocals entirely removed.
It's egomania at its worst, but the album still works! The production by long time band associate Juan "Punchy" Gonzales is unusual but fits the music. It's a fresh and raw new direction from "Gateways to Annihilation" and its sometimes overly smooth sound. It really brings out a new layer in Azagthoth's style of guitar-playing. Sandoval's drumming (including a welcome solo track) is simply incredible. The instrumentals on the bonus disc may be hubristic, but they are worth having simply for the beautiful interplay of Azagthoth's guitars and Sandoval's drums. These guys are simply too good to ignore.
The actual songs on the first disc are almost all very good. Tucker creatively weaves his vocals into the music-- it helps the album chemistry quite a bit and makes him stand out from the run of the mill growlers that populate death metal music. The only vocal drawbacks are when Azagthoth attempts to add his own voice-- Tucker just makes him sound awful by comparison. Knock it off, Trey and stick to guitars-- you don't have the vocal chops. Azagthoth and Sandoval otherwise are excellent in their performances. The bass is MIA, but great tunes like "Enshrined By Grace" and "Praise the Strength" can almost make you forget about it.
"Formulas" shook my faith in this group and "Gateways" only partially restored some of it-- "Heretic" brings it back in force even if Azagthoth is playing the tyrant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the rage?, March 4, 2004
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
As a long-time M.A fan (since Blessed), I'm getting kinda hacked off with Morbid. David Vincent brought something to the band that they've been lacking since Domination (and probably Covenant), and that is Fury. Rage. Anger. All the things that makes Death Metal what it is.
Don't get me wrong, I think Tucker is the only consolation on this CD coz he's the only person that seems pissed off. The drums, although they are amazingly played as always, are lazy in feel; Trey Azagthoth has totally lost his essence these days - bear in mind that he was the twisted genius that wrote their first 3 albums - and comes away with some good solos, but no real great riffs/hooks, and where is the bass? Vox are good, but I thought they sounded better on Gateways. As for the bonus tracks? Waste of CD. According to them the track times/lengths are all based on numerology and relate to power. Good for them; they just don't relate to a good listening experience.
So basically - it's alright, but lazy. I'll remain a fan, but I hope that they don't slide any further.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Breath Of Fresh Air..., November 15, 2004
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
In all honesty, this isn't their best work, but Morbid Angel is still an awesome band, definitely one of the best out there right now. They've never compromised themselves for a buck, and they've never slowed down. Yes, they had some mediocre releases, but they weren't awful. This album is relentless, its production is truly raw and conveys the utter brutality of the music. Enshrined By Grace is a great song, and the rest of the album doesn't dissappoint either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good despite the problems, April 5, 2004
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
Morbid Angel are about as close to a solid institution as their genre has ever had. Guitarist/leader Trey Azagthoth writes pounding and uncompromising music without making it stale and formulaic. Drummer Pete Sandoval is nothing short of legendary--the best in the business. It says quite a bit about them that their new releases generate a "buzz" at all like this one, especially considering how small a market the extreme metal business is.
Azagthoth's biggest flaw is in his ego. Extraordinary bassist/vocalist David Vincent was forced out of the songwriting equation and soon left the band in the late nineties, which hurt their music. Later, clashes with new bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker caused him to leave the band, and exceptional second guitarist Erik Rutan left for more musical freedom with his own outfit "Hate Eternal." Azagthoth can rail all he likes about how Morbid Angel is "his" band (he's certainly done it enough) but the results of such problems are never good-- one man exerting all the control damages the chemistry in the music.
Azagthoth's excesses are on full display here, but it doesn't destroy the album as it did in "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh." The mix makes the recently re-acquired Tucker's bass barely audible, which was a poor decision, especially if it was the slight to Tucker that it seems to be. The album is short on songs-- only seven or eight real, full ones over the whole of both discs. Azagthoth tries to make up for this in two ways: weak original intrumentals on the first disc, which are pure filler (aside from Sandoval's drum track) and by loading the discs full of self-indulgent bonus tracks of either his solos all by themselves or the songs of the album with the bass and vocals entirely removed.
It's egomania at its worst, but the album still works! The production by long time band associate Juan "Punchy" Gonzales is unusual but fits the music. It's a fresh and raw new direction from "Gateways to Annihilation" and its sometimes overly smooth sound. It really brings out a new layer in Azagthoth's style of guitar-playing. Sandoval's drumming (including a welcome solo track) is simply incredible. The instrumentals on the bonus disc may be hubristic, but they are worth having simply for the beautiful interplay of Azagthoth's guitars and Sandoval's drums. These guys are simply too good to ignore.
The actual songs on the first disc are almost all very good. Tucker creatively weaves his vocals into the music-- it helps the album chemistry quite a bit and makes him stand out from the run of the mill growlers that populate death metal music. The only vocal drawbacks are when Azagthoth attempts to add his own voice-- Tucker just makes him sound awful by comparison. Knock it off, Trey and stick to guitars-- you don't have the vocal chops. Azagthoth and Sandoval otherwise are excellent in their performances. The bass is MIA, but great tunes like "Enshrined By Grace" and "Praise the Strength" can almost make you forget about it.
"Formulas" shook my faith in this group and "Gateways" only partially restored some of it-- "Heretic" brings it back in force even if Azagthoth is playing the tyrant.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as some people think...., September 5, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
I feel it's my duty to defend this album from all the bashing it's getting from Morbid Angel fans. I got this CD in the mail last year when I was stationed in Iraq, and it kicked my ass! It lifted me from the gloom of the deployment, and gave me something to look forward to when I returned home... seeing them LIVE! Morbid Angel should play USO tours!!!

But onto the review... Sure, Heretic isn't their best work (that's a tie between Covenant and Formulas for me), but it's definitely not their worst, either. I'll admit, I was a little thrown off by some of the songs, especially the ones with the crazy tempo shifts, like Cleansed in Pestilence and Enshrined by Grace. The song starts off with a cool riff, then suddenly WHAM it kicks into a million miles an hour, and then it STOPS and returns to the main riff. It took me a while to get used to that, the progression didn't seem very natural.

Other than that, here are a few points/praises/complaints about Heretic:

1. It has some of the coolest titles in the Morbid Angel catalog: Cleansed in Pestilence, Stricken Arise, Place of Many Deaths, etc. Just awesome!!

2. I always enjoyed those short musical numbers in between tracks, like Nar Mattaru, Dreaming, and my personal favorite, Disturbance in the Great Slumber. But Place of Many Deaths is HORRIBLE!!! It's just noise! And it's not short either, it's over four minutes long! It completely destroys the continuity of the album. What a waste of a great title!

3. I'm no sound recording expert or anything, so the production really doesn't bother me all that much. I only notice it when I make a Morbid Angel mix CD, and a song from Heretic comes after one from Gateways. That's when the difference in production hits me. But by itself, Heretic sounds fine.

4. What's up with cramming the album full of religious/new age mumbo-jumbo? Man, I miss those satanic days.

5. And what's up with the 44 tracks, most of them empty silence, with a few hidden gems here and there? I hate it when bands do that (like Overkill's WFO). Other than Pete's mindblowing Drum Check, it's all garbage.

In the end, I ripped the actual songs from Heretic and burned my own custom CD, which is the one I listen to... all the awesome songs without the garbage in between.

Heretic is a good album, but has way too many distractions. Keep it simple, 10 or 11 actual songs with one or two short instrumental pieces...and that's it! All that extra stuff is pointless, it dilutes the quality of the album.

I recently heard Steve Tucker left Morbid Angel. It saddens me to hear that; I always thought he was better than Dave Vincent. And because of my deployment, I wasn't able to see them live before I returned home. But I'll always thank Morbid Angel for releasing Heretic in my time of need!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These guys are so awesome, March 6, 2005
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
Ok... I understand that this is not Morbid Angel's "best" release. However, this album goes well with Trey's philosophy of Chaos. I really do have a great deal of respect for this band. The songs still pack a good punch and I have to say I love the atmosphere created on this album.

I know that everyone is entitled to an oppinion, but personally, I think it's silly to take bands so seriously that you'll completely loose faith in that group of people just over one release.

It's only natural for an artist to evolve, and lets face it, the difference between Heretic and their earlier albums is nothing compared to what metallica has done... These guys are still wonderful people and I support Trey all the way for being so philosophical.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorcerers, February 27, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
I recently discovered Morbid Angel after having listened to Death for some time. I have quickly found a few favorites: Blessed ..., Covenant, Domination, Heretic, (have just added Formulas Fatal to the Flesh to this list!! very intense!), and these should last for a while for me to explore. Compared to Death it is musically not quite as technically overwhelming and aggressive, but it is very imaginative and creative. While Death is aggressive from a more worldly perspective Morbid Angel is aggressive in a fanciful way with much more atmosphere, that may require imagination from the listener to fully grasp. Sometimes it turns from mere music into something like otherworldly incantations and chantings. Great stuff! HAIL THE ANCIENT ONES!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very weird album even for Morbid Angel.., September 26, 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Heretic (Audio CD)
Hey don't get me wrong I still dug Heretic..it's just well, different..Pete's drums are some of the best in the genre and Trey still plays a tight guitar and Steve's vocals still sounded pretty good..but I still wish Dave Vincent were around..Heretic didn't seem too riffy like older school Morbid was...this isn't as say THRASHY as before...it just sounds well, atmospheric might be the word...it's still a good album and reminded me alot of Gateways in ways and Formulas in others...the bonus disk was kinda cool if you feel up to doing some Morbid Angel karioke...:-P...anywho..all in all I wasn't that dissapointed with Heretic it's still a blasting album from one of Florida Death Metal's founding fathers..and I haven't over the last 12 years lost any faith for them...but if your new to Morbid Angel I reccomend the old school before you browse the new school Morbid...good album from the Ancient One's none the less...Drum Check really shows the "Commando's" legendary drum loops...still worth your time.
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Heretic
Heretic by Morbid Angel (Audio CD - 2007)
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