Sound — 8
Seventh studio album released by death metal legends Morbid Angel, in 2003. This album contains some very brutal songwriting, which I think that deserved a better production. I mean, the drums sound really great, but my problem here is with the guitar. It sounds... Buried, compared to other MA releases like "Gateways To Annihilation" or "Covenant". Really a pity, because like I've said, this album here got some sick songwriting, just as usual. But, by the way, it's nothing that really compromises listening to this album. Here, we got some crazy stuff like the opening track, "Cleansed In Pestilence (Blade Of Elohim)" and "Praise The Strength", featuring Morbid Angel's trademark sounding: sick and fast guitar riffs and solos, a courtesy of Mr. Trey Azagthoth, solid bass lines performed by Steve Tucker and a totally insane Pete Sandoval crushing everything with usual death metal beats, blast beats and crazy fills. There's also the mini suite "Abyssous/God Of Our Own Divinity", which kinda reminds me of "Nar Mattaru/God Of Emptiness" from "Covenant". Though there's some stuff here that sounds completely unnecessary, like "Enshrined By Grace", which is basically some weird chugging on the E string, something that is way below Trey's creativity, and "Place Of Many Deaths", that it's virtually just some random noises, it's still an insane record, made by one of the most important death metal bands of all time.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics on this album are really sick, which is something really in MA's standards. They basically talk about suffering, pain, nihilism and hate, but I mean, they're really some angry stuff. Check out "Curse The Flesh" or "Praise The Strength" for good examples of what I'm talking about. When it comes to vocals, we can say that Steve Tucker did an awesome job here. Well, it's almost impossible not to compare him with David Vincent, but while his voice may not be as powerful as Vincent's, it is just sick enough to growl and blaspheme MA's lyrics just fine. It goes from growled stuff like on "Curse The Flesh" to mixing it with shrieked screams, like on "Stricken Arise", for an example.
Overall Impression — 8
Well, enough said. In my opinion, this is not Morbid Angel's finest hour or something, but it's still an amazing record. I would point "Cleansed In Pestilence (Blade Of Elohim)", "God Of Our Own Divinity" and "Stricken Arise" as the best songs here, but honestly, I think this whole album is pure and insane death metal aggression attacking your ears, with the exception of the aforementioned "Enshrined By Grace" and "Place Of Many Deaths", that I find really weird/average for MA's standards. This is Morbid Angel's last strike of insanity to this date, since the following album, "Illud Divinum Insanus", from 2011, saw the band moving towards stuff like techno/industrial experimentation and putting aside most of their death metal roots. I think this is totally worth of being purchased by any fan of the genre, just like all Morbid Angel's previous records, and I will totally buy this again if it gets lost or something.