Originally published in ‘zine issue #24, 2000
Morbid Angel Gateways to Annihilation
Gateways to Annihilation (G.T.A.) marks the sixth official non-live, non-demo recording from the world’s most persistent death metal machine. This record marks a noticeable departure from the band’s previous songwriting style; the music has taken a more churning, rhythmic direction compared with material from Domination or Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. Rest assured, G.T.A. lacks neither aggression nor dimension. Plenty of blast beats and insanely fast double-kick drum passages still abound, as well as the trademark bombastic lyrics and abundant guitar solos. Fortunately, bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker has opted to omit the ancient Babylonian lyrical texts, which made an abysmal and retarded appearance on the previous album. The record was produced and engineered under the watchful eye of Jim Morris of Morrisound infamy. As dated as the “Florida Sound” may be, the only real production flaw I found was the miserable snare drum sound, which resembles a Casio drum sample running on half power. Special note must be made of the absolutely atrocious album packaging. I’m sure there is some knavery afoot here; the liner notes credit the wretched crayon drawings which adorn the insert and cover to none other than the mighty Dan Seagrave, death metal artist extraordinaire, whose extensive illustrative work has been proudly displayed by the likes of Gorguts, Hypocrisy, Entombed, and others. I applaud Morbid Angel’s sense of humor in including artwork so clearly generated by a Wesley Willis protégé and billing it as a Seagrave masterpiece. Bear in mind, the criticisms here are minor; G.T.A. is a great record, my favorite by Morbid Angel since Covenant. Some crusty old grind dorks (I won’t mention Richard here) expressed disappointment with the slower tempo of the record, which is a fair assessment. Personally, I find the change refreshing and don’t think that any band, including Morbid Angel, will ever be able to repeat the glory of Altars of Madness or Blessed Are the Sick. At any rate, even a lackluster Morbid Angel record far surpasses 99.9% of the abominable shit on the market masquerading as death metal.
(by Mark Sloan) ■
Pig Destroyer 38 Counts of Battery
When you buy this record, which quite frankly you will be buying, grab some plastic gloves and a mop on the way home, because this CD will crush your head into a shapeless mass of mucous and pus (this is a good thing when dealing with METAL). This discography CD covers most of Pig Destroyer’s fun-filled releases, most of which I hadn’t ever had a chance to get my metal-loving mitts on before. It’s an interesting release because you can see how this three-man demolition unit has musically grown while at the same time still has kept the PD vibe going throughout their career. So next time you wake up in a cold sweat, covered in someone else’s urine and puke, and you need to hear some Pig Destroyer, simply reach for your newly acquired 38 Counts of Battery and rest easy, you bastard.
(by Jake Cregger) ■
Sinner The End of Sanctuary
If you’re unfamiliar with Sinner, it’s probably because most of their LPs have never made it to U.S. shores. It’s a shame, because we’ve been missing out on some top-of-the-line power metal. Generally, “German power metal” conjures up images of guys in fluffy pirate shirts using falsettos guaranteed to reduce one’s sperm count, but such is not the case here. These guys are firmly entrenched in the Judas Priest style of go-for-the-throat riffing and song arrangement that dispose of the unneeded prog noodling that makes Gamma Ray such a fucking bore. When I got this CD to review I listened to it for about three weeks straight, and I haven’t done that with a metal album since Painkiller. The End of Sanctuary is probably the best straight-up metal record I’ve heard in the past two or three years. Buy it!
(by R. Mason) ■