Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness – 25 Days of Christmas Metal Countdown: Day 16

Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25 of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.

May 12, 1989 brought us one of the best death metal records ever made: the debut album of Morbid Angel titled Altars of Madness. Florida death metal at its finest.

I was blown away the first time I heard Morbid Angel. These guys are such fantastic musicians. David Vincent gives us a frighteningly stellar vocal performance. Guitarist Trey Azagthoth has incredibly great technical guitar skills, and he was even named the greatest death metal guitarist of all time by Decibel magazine. Pete Sandoval is one of the greatest drummers in the world. He really helped to popularize the use of double bass drumming.

Guitarist Trey Azagthoth started Morbid Angel in Tampa, Florida in 1984. David Vincent and Pete Sandoval who were in the band Terrorizer joined Trey in Morbid Angel later. Guitarist Richard Brunelle rounded out the lineup for the Altars of Madness album. This lineup would remain stagnant for three albums.

Altars of Madness starts off with a great opening track called “Immortal Rites”. I think outstanding opening tracks are essential for a great album. If your first song isn’t awesome what would make me want to listen to the rest? “Immortal Rites” gets the job done and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

“Visions From the Dark Side” is another favorite track from this album. Listen to the guitar parts on this song. I would say this song is very influential to the black metal scene that would form in the 1990s. Elements of the riffs in this song became standard for black metal style guitar.

“Maze of Torment” and “Chapel of Ghouls” are two other favorites on this album. The great musicianship and brutality of these songs makes wanna crank up the volume and bust out my favorite air guitar and play along.

David Vincent departed Morbid Angel in 1996 and was replaced by Steve Tucker until 2003 when he returned. Drummer Pete Sandoval had a serious back injury in 2010 and had to leave the band to recover from surgery. Morbid Angel last released an album in 2011 called Illud Divinum Insanus (don’t buy it. Buy Altars of Madness). David Vincent left the band again last year and is currently playing classic country style music along with also playing in a newly formed Morbid Angel cover band.

Trey Azagthoth and Steve Tucker are set to relaunch Morbid Angel in 2017 by playing some shows and working on a new album.



Chief Of Operations, 31, lives in North VA but grew up in PA, married, baseball and metal. Kiss, Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, King Diamond, Mayhem, Mortification, Poison, P.O.D., Zao, King’s X, Demoniciduth, Led Zeppelin