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Morbid Angel, death metal pioneer, at the Webster

Hartford Courant logoHartford Courant 12/6/2019 By John Adamian, Hartford Courant

Morbid Angel at Webster Theater, 31 Webster St., Hartford, on Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. $30. 860-525-5553 and

In the early ‘90s, after the earth-shaking success of Nirvana, a lot of major record labels went scrambling to sign acts with an abrasiveness and intensity that might appeal to the fans of raw and aggressive music. Florida’s Morbid Angel was one of the bands that benefited from this brief gold-rush mentality in the music industry.

Suddenly extreme death metal was being championed by the star-maker machinery. One wonders if the suits knew what they were in for when they essentially agreed to release an atomic blast of satanic destruction in musical form with 1993’s “Covenant.” That was over a quarter of a century ago, but the record remains frightening. The blurry-fast 16th notes sometimes sound like they could leave puncture wounds.

The way the band plays with double-time, half-time and triple-time sections jammed against each other, creates a kind of sonic smear, like having metal shavings raked across your face, then having the torment stop for a moment, only to pick back up at a quicker pace. The components fit together with gear-like precision and pressure, but they also bubble and smoke like molten metal in a blast furnace. This is the music of advanced-level misanthropy, with the fierce technical skills to craft a lacerating musical landscape to match the stomach-churning aesthetic. If you hate Christmas — and humanity — Morbid Angel has some counter-programming that’s as heavy as a death star for you.


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