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The Marquee, London, England

December 13th, 1991

Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel)
Pic: Nick Matthews

Morbid Angel definitely seem to be setting a pretty hot touring pace at the moment, even though their latest offering (the first availability of their debut album Abominations Of Desolation) hadn’t hit the shelves at the time of this show. Nonetheless, this night offered another insight into their professionally oiled musical machine.

Supporting here were Sweden’s Unleashed, thanks to Morbid Angel drummer Pete Sandoval standing in for the absent Anders Schultz (stopped from entering the country). Unfortunately they could play just five numbers. Still, they did manage to make an impact. Unleashed’s forceful and charismatic vocalist / bassist Johnny Hedlund was initially apologetic and beaming as ‘Before The Creation Of Time’ ripped through the Marquee crowd. Yet the band were fresh and hot, with tracks like ‘If They Had Eyes’ being exquisite; their subtle death metal guitar sound punching quietly from Fredrik Lindgren and Tomas Olsson. However, if you want to hear Unleashed in full flight, then you will have to wait for them to return with Anders Schultz behind the drum kit. Still, a worthy opening act.

Morbid Angel seem to be rather trendy at the moment. They don’t need it, but it’s still put an interesting pressure on a band who have in the past avoided the spotlight. On stage you can understand their popularity, whilst off stage it’s difficult to believe that it even enters their heads. But I can tell you, live it’s definitely noticed and reacted to. The show is set up like a watch mechanism which, when released, runs like clockwork. ‘Fall From Grace’ isn’t too loud, but you can tell it’s controlled, with Trey Azagthoth’s guitar solo coming in sweetly, and David Vincent’s vocals picking up nicely after a slightly cautious start due a day spent suffering from flu.

Morbid Angel do not, at first sight, approach a show too technically, with ‘Chapel Of Ghouls’ being all speed twisting and occasionally bouncing off the Marquee’s jagged interior. But despite the acoustics, it’s obvious that the four lads feel comfortable in this environment, free of climactic worries or unchecked sounds, as happens out of doors the last time I caught them. ‘Unholy Blasphemies’ is strong, with Sandoval shipping around his tight-knit kit. ‘Brainstorm’ is as heavy in atmosphere as in musical standpoint, but it’s that air of unconcealed professional stage management that separates them from many others.

Mike Exley

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 69 (1992)