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Review: Morbid Angel - Abominations of Desolation
Morbid Angel
Abominations of Desolation

Label: Satanic Records
Year released: 1991
Duration: 42:31
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: May 13, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers Rating
Abominations of Desolation

Rated 4.42/5 (88.33%) (12 Votes)

Officially released as Morbid Angel's third album, Abominations of Desolation is actually the first full-length they recorded, produced by David Vincent back in 1986 and initially advertised as their upcoming debut. However, an altercation between Mike Browning and Trey Azagthoth saw it shelved, making this the only release with the original lineup intact (Trey Azathoth on guitar and keyboards, Richard Brunelle (R.I.P. 2019) on guitar, John Ortega on bass and Mike Browning on drums and vocals), while the band released Altars of Madness as their debut instead. They would go on to officially release this via Earache in 1991 in response to various bootlegs released the same year, one of which was released by the defunct Italian label Nosferatu Records, who released it under the Satanic Records name to avoid legal action. That happens to be the version I got back in my tape-trading days (don't ask me when, I forget), so it's the copy that I'll be reviewing, in part due to it having the best cover among all the releases of this album (be thankful I spared you the Earache cover). It also happens to be the album that made me a Morbid Angel fanboy, because it's absolutely worthy of their celebrated classics.

Abominations of Desolation is exactly what you'd expect of Morbid Angel at their earliest: evil, satanic, diabolical Death Metal that was unlike anything else I had heard at the time. From Trey's wicked, out-of-this-world playing to Mike's demonic vocals and frenzied drumming, every inch of this album is dripping with satanic evil and uncompromising hatred, so much so that it actually scared me when I first heard it (it'd be a little while before I got into more extreme Metal, in no small part due to this album). From the opening moments of "The Invocation/Chapel of Ghouls", I knew this was going to be special all those years ago, and decades later, I'm glad to say it still is. Songs like "Unholy Blasphemies", "Angel of Disease", "Azagthoth"—fuck man, I could just name every track as a reason why this refused to leave my tape player all those years ago, and I firmly believe that this is where Death Metal first really started pushing itself to become as evil and vile as possible.

We can argue about what the best release from Morbid Angel's early days is until the death of the universe, and there really isn't a right answer when it comes to which one you prefer. From where I stand, though, this monster of an album was the foundation for everything this band would become, especially since most of the songs on here were reworked on those releases in some form or another. With this release, they would go on to redefine the boundaries of how extreme Metal could get, all while serving as my first instance of what I can only call Death Metal nirvana. For that reason alone, I hold Abominations of Desolation as their greatest work, and everyone should worship it like it's the devil himself.

Other related information on the site
Review: Altars of Madness (reviewed by Scott Murray)
Review: Blessed Are The Sick (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Covenant (reviewed by Dakuroth)
Review: Domination (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Formulas Fatal To The Flesh (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Gateways To Annihilation (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Heretic (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Illud Divinum Insanus (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Kingdoms Disdained (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with David Vincent on January 12, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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