Released: 2000, Earache Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Look at it from any perspective if you want, but here´s without doubts one of those most eagerly-waited extreme metal albums which leaves no question mark hanging on above anyone´s head why some bands just have this strange tendency to make you breathless for an unknown period of time by their utterly high-class mayhemic metal attack and genuine thought-out all-out performance. Such a band definitely is Morbid Angel and they have new album out titled GATEWAYS TO ANNIHILATION which is pure brilliance and kind of a revolutionary effort in their own career at the same time, too, I think.
Right after the intro ("Kawazu"), "Summoning Redemption" pushes thru its first chords of shattering moments, you´re about to sense the Morbid Ones are yet again breaking some boundaries around them and exploring somewhat new grounds for their passionate, well-textured Death Metal - still, however, keeping the strings tightly together as far as band´s character sound goes. Letting "Ageless, Still I Am" and "He Who Sleeps" in next, you start to realize that a step they have taken ain´t really too much away from the original path they´ve always been roaming since the days of now legendary ALTARS OF MADNESS album. It´s just that they´ve paid more attention to making their songs even catchier and more moody - without sacrificing anything from band´s highly dynamic sound that has become one of their trademarks within all these past years. You can notice there´s actually lots of more groove in guitars´ sound; a lot more than they have normally had indeed! What you´ll notice as a new thing as well, are solos on this record, which are, to be honest with you, truly melodic and have lots of feeling to them, to be on a Morbid Angel album (check out the 1st solo for "Summoning Redemption", f.ex.). It´s something I could say is quite unexpected from the Morbid Angel record really! Also, compared to FORMULAS FATAL TO THE FLESH, gone are the most of the blast beats, hyper-speed parts they had on FORMULAS that have been replaced by almost a zombie-slow, mid-paced stuff. But when they go for those "no speed limit" -things on GATEWAYS, you certainly understand why Pete Sandoval can be considered and hailed as one of the most fastest & outrageous drummers ever that has walked on Earth. And you get to know why people are using "Commando" as a nickname for him, too. His amazing, machine-like drum work can be heard on such songs as "To the Victor the Spoils" and "God of the Forsaken"; just wonder doesn´t he ever miss one strike?
Yet again Morbid Angel have accomplished something on GATEWAYS... which easily strengthens their position as the true innovators - as well as on the top of the Death Metal genre. To accomplish the strong material as they have done on GATEWAYS... you truly need to have an indefatigable will and drive for a kind of brutal shit only bands like Morbid Angel seem to be capable of doing nowadays. You have to love your music what you´re doing 100%. You have to dedicate your life and every effort totally for making all that happen - and that´s what the Morbid Angels have presumably done on GATEWAYS OF ANNIHILATION, I think.
Feel like Death Metal is such a jolly good thing sometimes as long as you let bands like Morbid Angel keep you a company. Dark, groovy, twisted, catchy... that´s what you´re about to get from "Gateways...". Now taste the fire, feel the blood.