Altars of Madness (1989) vs Deicide (1990)
Deicide. Easily. Sure, Morbid's debut may have that extra bit of hype surrounding it but Deicide's first album came violently crashing through the doors and gunned down everybody in sight. Sure, people may try and downplay their impact a bit these days due to the fact that Deicide hasn't released anything of worth in almost two decades, but the fact remains... Deicide, for me, was the first album that truly shook the almighty 'Church of Slayer' to its core in terms of blasphemous content and pure savagery. Deicide weren't "toying" with notions of "the ancient ones". No. They were throatfucking everybody with a crucifix and pissing into the exit wound.
Blessed are the Sick (1991) vs Legion (1992)
Honestly, I've always had mixed feelings about 'Legion'. Then again, I had mixed feelings about 'Blessed...' as well, though I could tell upon my first listen to that album that something greater was brewing. 'Blessed...' was the skin shedding process.
One thing I always loved about 'Blessed...' were the slower, modernized Sabbathian riff dirges that permeated the atmosphere. Perhaps that is the reason I was never too keen on 'Legion' as I felt it was a step backwards what with the "thrashier" riffing. Sure, not all of the songs were like that and yea, I "get" that death metal was derived from thrash but at that time I was more interested in where it was all going, not its initial manifestation. Also, Glen's vocals on 'Legion' were showing signs of battle fatigue whilst David Vincent's were coming into their own.
Winner: Blessed are the Sick
Covenant (1993) vs Once Upon the Cross (1995)
Covenant was not only a reaffirmation of Morbid's mighty grasp upon the death metal scene, it was also a reinvigorated approach to the band's strategy for world domination. I was honestly taken back with how barbaric this album was. I actually had the pleasure of driving down to Manhattan with Paul (Profanatica) Ledney and a few friends and seeing MA's first show for their 'Covenant' tour back in '93.
Once Upon the Cross was the first time that I truly felt that Deicide may have reached the far end of the slope. Granted, upon further examination, OUtC turned out to be a rather enjoyable affair but the fact that doubt had entered my mind, even for a second, was telling indeed.
Domination (1995) vs Serpents of the Light (1997)
Domination is a classic example of a seemingly shitty album that turns out to be a classic. An artistic statement, if you will. Serpents of the Light, however, is sound of a dying band in it's death throes. Actually, it doesn't even sound that intense. SotL was a pathetically anemic affair that had pretty much convinced me that Glen Benton & The Boys had blown their creative load early in their career and were pretty much coughing up dust at this point. Sadly, it would get a whole lot worse.
Winner overall: Morbid Angel