55 minutes (approx.)
Cleansed in Pestilence (Blade of Elohim)
2) Enshrined by Grace
3) Beneath the Hollow
4) Curse the Flesh
5) Praise the Strength
6) Stricken Arise
7) Place of Many Deaths
9) God of Our Own Divinity
10) Within thy Enemy
11) Memories of the Past
12) Victorious March of Reign the Conqueror
13) Drum Check
14) Born Again
The long awaited “H” album has arrived and does it really need to be said that it good? That’s what I thought. One difference between this one and the past few is the lack of Erik Rutan, who is now concentrating on his own band Hate Eternal. To your humble review, Heretic, is a nice mix of Covenant and Domination. Lots of blast beats and double bass and over the top solos that have that Azagthoth ring to them. A couple songs that stood out to me as not having that Morbid Angel sound were “Enshrined By Grace” and “The Stricken Arise”. Well, certain aspects of those songs. For instance, “Enshrined By Grace” has a funky feel to its opening riff, until the blast-beats and vocals start. I was glad they didn’t go into some nu-metal-hardcore-funk experimentation. “The Stricken Arise” is a killer song, but it’s the vocals that stand out. Steve Tucker is pulling off the Bret Hoffman vocal sound ala early Malevolent Creation. Since I like that band as well, that’s fine in my book.
As for the songs, good news…there’s nothing in ancient Sumerian or whatever the hell that stuff is on Formulas Fatal to the Flesh or Gateways to Annihilation. There’s eight “real” songs excluding instrumental and hidden tracks. They all have their own styling. Fast, slow, or mid-paced, each song is top notch. People still want to piss and moan over the lack of David Vincent on vocals, but Steve Tucker does just fine. So fine, that in some places his vocals are done in such ferocity that you’ll forget about Vincent all together.
Continuing a tradition, the band has a few ambient instrumentals, “Place of Many Deaths”, “Abyssous”, “Memories of the Past”, and “Victorious March of Reign of Conqueror” which sounds like some of the early Mortiis keyboard work. “Drum Check” is 2 ½ minutes of Pete Sandoval punishing his kit. How this guy pulls off that machinegun double-bass is beyond me.
Now for the slightly silly part. There’s like 5000 hidden tracks on this thing. Mostly little snippets of guitar solos. No hidden songs, just Trey fiddling around on guitar for a few seconds. My version of Heretic came with a bonus disc of 18 tracks. The first few tracks are worthy of Morbid Angel karaoke. It’s songs from the CD without the vocal track. And once again, the last half of the bonus disc is more Trey solos.
And the biggest question facing us Morbid Angel fans now is “What’s the next release going to be called?” Given the track record of their prior eight releases (A thru H), it has to start with the letter “I”, so how about Infernal Torments or maybe Infinity of the Ancients. I guess we’ll see in a couple years.
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