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The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s: #25, Morbid Angel

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The ’90s: they were the bomb! That’s why MetalSucks will spend the month of March giving snaps to the decade that was all that and a bag of chips by counting down The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s. These aren’t bands that necessarily formed in the ’90s, nor are they bands that would turn out to be influential somewhere down the road; these are bands that a) were doing their best work in the ’90s, and b) amassed a devout following during the ’90s. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for extreme music. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for yo mama.

Death metal was officially created in the mid-’80s, but it didn’t really come of age until the ’90s. For fans of a certain age, then, death metal is the definitiveness form of extreme music for that decade. Thrash’s best days were already behind it, nu-metal was for the same dopes who liked glam metal, and industrial either wasn’t guitar-driven enough or became too overpopulated by fourth-rate Nine Inch Nails wannabes. Death metal was where it was at.

And to many of those fans for whom death metal defines the ’90s, Morbid Angel defines death metal.

Which is logical! The band released three seminal albums — Blessed are the SickCovenant, and Domination — between 1991 and 1995 alone (and there are definitely fans who’d say we’re being unfair to 1998’s Formulas Fatal to the Flesh). And thanks to a little show called Beavis and Butt-Head, Morbid Angel became death metal’s ambassadors to the outside world, acting as the gateway drug for who even knows how many scores of kids.

“God of Emptiness,” the song included in that clip, was a LOT of people’s introduction to death metal, and probably not coincidentally, it strongly hinted at what was to come with ’95’s Domination. That album represented a turning point in the genre, pushing death metal beyond its thrash roots into a slower, groovier, blast beat-driven format that many bands continue to emulate to this day.

Furthermore, this version of death metal made it more palatable to the masses (whether that was Morbid Angel’s intent or not), and did so in a way that mostly didn’t offend the die-hards. Morbid Angel were one of the rare truly brutal metal bands to “cross over” (with limited success, to be sure) without losing their core fanbase. That success also paved the way for other bands to release devastatingly-heavy-yet-commercially-popular albums, such as Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill (1996).

The point being, Morbid Angel don’t deserve all the credit for ensuring that death metal would not only thrive but survive after its initial inception… but they do deserve a LOT of that credit. Take a bow, fellas.

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