Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
And here is where they started to go wrong
on September 5, 2007
With two real releases, (three if you count the self-financed 'Abominations' album), already under their belt by this time one would think Morbid Angel would give another great performance like on the prior "Blessed are the Sick" album. No, "Covenant" falls short of the prior two Morbid Angel albums by far. During this time Morbid Angel enjoyed their most commercial time ever in their history. You could even see them on MTV during this era, usually promoting the slightly silly song "God of Emptiness". Whether it was drugs, commercial influence, or just bad timing, "Covenant" leaves a lot to be desired.
"Blessed are Sick" (and "Altars of Madness" to a lesser extent), were well written albums that had a variation of tempos, riffs, and overall themes that made each song sound largely different enough from every other song. The riffs were much better than the ones showcased here. Here the riffs are about as muddy and uninspired as possible. That doesn't mean the guitars are bad, sometimes they shine like on "World of..." and "The Lion's Den". They just aren't as amazing as before and Trey seems to pass the time between passages by giving half a performance. For example, his guitar work gives the appearance of being rushed on "Pain is Divine". David Vincent's vocals were great on "Altars" still good on "Blessed" but here they are at a low that they would stay at and would never recover from. Instead of the raspy, almost perfectly intelligible, demonic sounding vocals of yester-year, he shelved those vocals for a much more conventional throaty standard Death Metal vocal style. Sandoval's drumming lacks the cool fills and some of the technical flare displayed on "Blessed". Instead the drums pound on and go between medium pace blasts, double time thrashing, and sluggish parts that sound like something out of an Obituary or Black Sabbath record. The problem is that they mostly blend way to much into the background. There is almost no groove to Sandoval's playing here and most of the time his playing sounds very plastic and mechanical. There are few, if any memorable drum parts to the album. The best thing about the album is the production. But if anything, this highlights even further the inadequate playing by the musicians. The punkish "Angel of Disease" is pretty cool and departs from the "Covenant" formula to round out the album with some diversity.
Morbid Angel was definitely one of the most promising Death Metal bands circa 1991, but here as well as after they lost their way. "Covenant" is by no means a bad album, and in some parts it kind of shines, but it is way too formulaic in the song writing department. Sadly, M.A. would go through line-up changes and would never recapture their earlier glory.