Morbid Saint - Spectrum of Death
Avanzada Metallica
Death / Thrash
8 songs (32:00)
Release year: 1988
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review

Whilst on the subject of “morbidity,” why not review the other “morbid” Death Metal band that nobody cares to look for. Intensity could have never been a more apt word to describe an album. The adrenaline rush a metalhead gets from this rare and obscure treasure is unbridled. It is obvious why this album is so little known. One full length release, only a few shows, a band from Sheboygan, Wisconisin. Not exactly a bastion for Heavy Metal history. In fact, the Midwest in general is not necessarily known for its Metal in general. Metal in America seems to manifest on Coastal lines. Los Angeles, Tampa, San Francisco, New York, etc. This small town Wisconsin band just so happened in one effort to sum up an adrenaline induced hyper attack that is one of the lost classics. In 1988, Spectrum of Death was released. Morbid Saint were best known as the favorite opener for Chuck Schuldiner and Death. Where Death were progressive and intellectual, Morbid Saint were violent and unpredictable; the perfect complement. Like yin and yang, the smarter, thoughtful side and the wild child dueled like two rival brothers. Death, of course, being the superior, diverse, and supremely talented band, but not to take away anything from Morbid Saint. Just like Chuck, there is a rasp to the voice of the vocals. Yet instead of the provocative and brilliant sheen to Schuldiner’s harsh vocals, the vocals here are nothing but evil. They sound evil, and they are.

For some reason the cover art on Spectrum of Death really grosses me out. Nothing like a screeching, rotted old lady to grace the artist in me. The logo looks more psychedelic than it does brutal, but regardless of what the art on the outside looks like, the artwork on the inside is Hellish. The first chord struck showcases some killer guitar tone with the ravaging extremity that immediately proclaims itself on the album as a dominant force. Lock Up your Children. does not stop with murderous guitar tone, the drums are excellently leveled, with skillful technique and solid sound backing the lower register of the battery. During the barrage of the intro riff, there are some outstanding cymbal lines, finally leading to a Thrash based riff in which the verses lie over. This is not one of those songs that has the same kick-snare kick-snare action to no avail. Even though the primary riffs are lined by those drum beats, the diversity of the Thrash riffs and the brief and fleeting insertion of double bass keeps everything fresh. Burned At the Stake is next, and it doesn’t let up. It also shows the drummers capability of holding a more diverse set of beats. There are some solid leads in this song, showing that Morbid Saint don’t only get their moxie from the punitive riffs unleashed upon our ears. There is a portion of this song that is possibly the heaviest bridge ever to escape the realms of Metal in 1988. Assassin is my personal favorite at track 3, and it is one of two songs to peak over five minutes, this one at 7:03. There is some serious talent displayed here. Despite their never-ending penchant for auditory violence, there is a very controlled, yet still chaotic side to Spectrum of Death. Assassin specifically shows the songwriting talent of the band; a skill which is so often blurred in the awe-inspiring display of aggression. Spectrum of Death is most likely what a shark attack would look like if it were transcribed to staff paper. Throughout the album, songs like Damien, Crying for Death and the rest of the lot for that matter maintain a fresh similarity. That meaning, this album is so unique for its time, and has stood the test for so long, that even amidst of a sea of quarter notes on the snare, snarled verses, and trilled riffs, each and every note maintains its freshness. It would be a serious challenge for this album to ever get old on me. Damien is a very short song, with such blistering speed displayed by everyone including vocals that it rushes in and out of the spotlight like a locust horde, destroying any and all in their path. Towards the end of this track great endurance is shown by the drummer.

Through and through, it’s easy why the forumites revere this album. I am so thankful for the discovery of this little noticed thread months ago that had me hunting feverishly for Morbid Saint. Word has it they may have reunited. With the consistent torrent of brutal riffs, drums that excel in every which way (specifically on Crying for Death. ) and the vocals that sound more demonic than human, it would not be hard after all these years to see Morbid Saint release something equally as Hellish as the beast in my player. This band is so fucking talented...

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted 98 / 100
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