Morbid Angel is an American death metal band based in Tampa, Florida. UK music magazine Terrorizer ranked Morbid Angel's 1989 debut Altars of Madness first in its list "Top 40 greatest death metal albums". Decibel Magazine also rated guitarist Trey Azagthoth as the number one "death metal guitarist ever". The band's songs are complex in arrangement, owing to the considerable technical skills of both Azagthoth and drummer Pete Sandoval, who also played in the grindcore band Terrorizer. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Morbid Angel is the third best-selling death metal band in the United States (after Cannibal Corpse and Deicide up until 2003 with sales of over 445,000), with their third album Covenant being the best-selling death metal album during the beginning of the Soundscan era time with over 150,000 units sold.
Morbid Angel was one of the original death metal bands signed to Earache Records, and was also influential in the transition of death metal from its thrash metal roots to its current form by incorporating guttural vocals, up-tempo blast beats, atonality in guitar soloing, and dark, chunky, mid-paced rhythms. They were also the first death metal band to have a touch of mainstream success in connection with being signed to Giant Records in 1992 and having the music video for the song "God of Emptiness" shown on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head.
The band's original lyrical themes focused mostly on Satanism, occultism and anti-Christian subject matter, but from Blessed Are the Sick onward, the lyrics moved toward the ancient Sumerian gods. Much of this is a nod to the Simon Necronomicon, which was influenced by Sumerian mythology, the author H. P. Lovecraft, and fascination with the Roman Empire. However, some anti-religious elements continue to permeate the lyrics. Their albums are notable for being released in alphabetical order (their first album starts with the letter A, the second with B, etc.). Guitarist Trey Azagthoth commented in an interview that it was a coincidence with the first two albums, but has been done consciously since then.