Friday, June 22, 2018

Still I'm sworn: Morbid Angel's 'Covenant' at 25

 Here's my 25th-anniversay tribute to my favorite metal album of all time. Paradoxically, this "41-minute blast of white-hot satanic rage" still fills me with immense joy. I'm not sure I've ever been so instantly frightened, awestruck and captivated by music as when I first heard "Rapture" on Headbanger's Ball back in 1993. (The eerily evocative video by Tony Kunewalder certainly played into that reaction.) This was some kind of new frontier of extremity that I had been searching for without even realizing it. I listened to the album twice through in recent days, and it has lost none of its savage majesty.

As I discuss in the piece, there is one line on the album that could be termed problematic, to say the least. The following is hopefully self-evident, but my praise of the album as an artistic statement should not be taken as a blanket endorsement of the perspective(s) that may have played into its creation. I take away from Covenant what I take away from most heavy music I love: an idea of pushing one's self toward some new threshold of intensity. Speaking strictly in those terms, I still haven't heard much else that can rival it.

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