Throughout history, only a handful of artists have been able to rise to a truly iconic level within any given genre. MORBID ANGEL are among those select few. Shattering the boundaries of creativity and imagination while evolving with each groundbreaking release throughout their historic career, the band stands alone as the true icon in extreme music, serving as source of countless inspiration to the multitude of fans and never failing to amaze with each evolving chapter.
Evoked into being in the year 1984 by founding member Trey Azagthoth, the Floridian band went through a number of line-up changes and recorded the now highly sought-after demos, "Scream for Blasphemies" and "Bleed for the Devil" in 1986. Azagthoth's interests in the occult, ancient magic, witchcraft and the Necronomicon poured into the band's lyricism, as the musical context grew darker and attained definitive sophistication. Their next demo "Thy Kingdom Come" (1987) was released as a 7'' single one year later in Europe. MORBID ANGEL were prepared to make a profound universal statement in the shape of guitarist Trey Azagthoth, drummer Pete Sandoval, bassist/vocalist David Vincent, and second guitarist Richard Brunelle.
"Altars of Madness" descended upon the worldwide metal community in May of 1989 as a raging storm, baffling the listeners with the insane amount of energy and adrenaline emanating from each track along with the finely-shaped musical passages and fiercely intense atmosphere. Nothing else sounded like this album at the time and the fans of what was then considered to be 'extreme' music were exposed to something truly out of this world. Recorded at Tampa's now legendary Morrisound Studios, the album catapulted to #1 on the UK Independent Chart, solidifying the band's world-wide fan base. MORBID ANGEL found itself on the "Grindcrusher Tour" alongside Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower and Carcass throughout the winter.
"Blessed Are the Sick", 1991's sophomore full length release adorned in J. Delville's painting 'Les Trésors De Satan' as cover art, is considered to be one of the most revered albums in metal history as well as a pure musical masterpiece. The dark ambience and classical overtones were deeply engraved into the context, as Azagthoth credited Mozart for inspiration. The songs on the album have retained the venomous energy of its predecessor, yet took the sound another step away from this earthly realm, seeing the band expand thematically as well as musically. MORBID ANGEL were quickly becoming a devastating force to be reckoned with, not just within the metal community, but the entire music field in general. "Abominations of Desolation", the band's initial pre-Altars unreleased debut originally produced by Bill Metoyer in 1986, saw its release later that year, providing the fans with an earlier chapter of the band's work. MORBID ANGEL, however, were prepared to break another boundary.
"Covenant", the third album released in 1993, was a true milestone for the underground metal community and remains so to this day, being the first major label release by a death metal band in the US. No compromises were made. In fact, this album is considered to be one of the darkest and most Satanically-inspired releases by the band throughout its collection. The line-up consisted of Trey Azagthoth handling the entire guitar assault and keyboard work along with Sandoval and Vincent in their respective positions, as Brunelle exited the band in 1992. "Covenant" was produced at the familiar Morrisound Studios, this time with the expertise of Flemming Rasmussen (METALLICA) behind the board. The final mixes were made at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen. This album would prove to be a massive success for MORBID ANGEL, as over one hundred and fifty thousand copies were sold world-wide. The band toured extensively, enlisting live guitarist Erik Rutan for European dates. Brunelle would make a brief return for a line of American concerts with MOTÖRHEAD and BLACK SABBATH. The video for the single "Rapture" premiered on Headbanger's Ball, followed by an interview with a swat suit-clad David Vincent. The video for "God of Emptiness" featured yet another then-unseen feature in extreme metal - Trey's 7-string guitar, as he is a true pioneer of its full potential and application in the extreme metal genre. At this point MORBID ANGEL had become the living proof that creativity did not have to meet the demands of conformity in order to achieve commercial success. The band was ready to conquer and dominate further.
"Domination", out in May 1995, was the band's second major label release. Guitarist Erik Rutan creatively contributed to the material featured on the album. This release was a grandiose, slime-ridden departure from its predecessor, applying a generous use of heavy grooves and power-driven detuned chordal progressions. MORBID ANGEL took on a monstrous touring schedule throughout 1995 and into 1996. Starting in their home state of Florida, they travelled throughout America and Europe.
The official live album "Entangled in Chaos" was recorded during the "Domination" touring cycle. The band had become an otherworldly organic slime-dripping machine from the swamps of Florida, far evolved musically and thematically from its initial commercial success. MORBID ANGEL had once again placed itself at the forefront of the extreme metal community with this incredibly powerful live album.
"Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" was released in 1997 as a strikingly different MORBID ANGEL effort in comparison to its predecessor. Gone were the polished edge production and the Romanesque themes of militancy. David Vincent's departure from the band had shocked the fan-base. Yet MORBID ANGEL brought forth its underground roots with a truly awe-inspiring release of the most beautifully dissonant, meanest material throughout its catalog, introducing a new bassist/vocalist into the line-up - Steve Tucker (ex-Ceremony). A portion of the lyrics for this album were written in Sumerian and the three F's in the title each represent the sixth letter of the alphabet. According to the die-hard followers of MORBID ANGEL, this album harkens back to the Altars era with its rage-filled atmosphere. Though far evolved technically and conceptually from its eight-year predecessor, "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" showcased MORBID ANGEL for what the band was first and foremost - a brutal fire breathing monster of metal, delivering its uncompromising musical inferno to the fans and proving that the repeated worldwide success certainly did not affect the band's content. Azagthoth's guitar wizardry and spirit of innovation made this album a remarkable effort, applying a wide array of tones and textures side by side with some of his most intense riffing. Along with Sandoval's inhuman drumming and Tucker's ferocious vocal/bass attack, "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh" had become another milestone in the band's unending evolvement.
"Gateways to Annihilation" was the highly anticipated metal release of 2000. Opening with a chorus of swamp frogs, the album delivered another devastating blow to the ears of metal fans across the world. The song structures appeared to be very tight and focused, drawing more on power and form rather than the chaotic brutality of the previous release. This was the first album to feature Tucker as full contributor to the band's material, who departed MORBID ANGEL shortly after the release to be replaced by Jared Anderson, a member of Erik Rutan's project HATE ETERNAL, as touring bassist/vocalist. MORBID ANGEL toured extensively throughout Europe and had spent the entire summer of 2001 touring arenas in the United States along SLAYER and PANTERA as part of the "Extreme Steel Tour", exposing the band's well-fashioned craft to massive amounts of fans across the country. These legendary dates are to be forever ingrained in the history of American metal. Erik Rutan left the band in 2002 to fully concentrate on his own band HATE ETERNAL.
"Heretic", out in 2003, saw MORBID ANGEL as an entity truly out of this Universe. Recorded at D.O.W. Studios in Florida and engineered by the band's soundman Juan 'Punchy' Gonzalez, this was the first effort to be created outside of Morrisound Studios. It captured an essence so far removed from the physical realm in form of a multi-structured, fiery whirlwind of sweeping guitar passages and burning solos, fierce drumming, and what would be the most solid and convincing presence of Steve Tucker, who had returned to the band, contributing to the recorded material once again. The band went on an extensive American tour with SUPERJOINT RITUAL.
The band's massive fan-base was truly intrigued by the return of David Vincent for a series of South American dates, putting MORBID ANGEL back into its classic form. The surprised fans witnessed the unexpected reformation of the classic MORBID ANGEL trio consisting of Azagthoth, Sandoval and Vincent. The band went on to complete the extremely successful "Masters of Chaos Tour" with support from BEHEMOTH and KRISIUN. Another historic milestone in MORBID ANGEL's career arrived with the return of guitarist Erik Rutan for a number of European festivals, featuring the by now legendary "Domination" line-up together for the first time in over ten years.
During the summer of 2008 the band played a number of European dates. The deadly trio of Vincent, Azagthoth and Sandoval, joined by live guitarist Destructhor (ex-Zyklon, Myrkskog), has torn up stages all across Europe. Even a new crushing song was being played live during these shows - "Nevermore". At the same time MORBID ANGEL were working on a full-length featuring the returned David Vincent for the first time in over ten years. "Illud Divinum Insanus" is the album the Metal world has been desperately anticipating for more than ten years! With the legendary frontman returning to take his rightful place at the front of MORBID ANGEL, the Americans picked up the threat of the tale where “Domination” left off to push the limits once again! Legendary MORBID ANGEL once again redefined extreme music by releasing "Illud Divinum Insanus" in June 2011. The album shattered the boundaries of creativity and imagination as its predecessors did. And while the US band’s inspiring evolution never failed to amaze their adherents, they also managed to be as controversial as ever in their relentless pursuit of groundbreaking sounds.
To celebrate MORBID ANGEL's ingenuity, which now even incorporates structures derived from the Electro scene, the idea was born to invite worldwide electro and techno superstars to revisit the tracks of "Illud Divinum Insanus". The response of DJs and electro stars was overwhelming and their fresh, sharp and inventive remixes graced the release of "Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes". Among the famed participants in this fascinating project were LAIBACH, SKOLD, THE TOXIC AVENGER, PROJECT PITCHFORK, MICROPOINT and BLACK STROBE among many others. For those with an open mind these artists will introduce you to MORBID ANGEL’s parallel world filled with industrial, minimalistic, dubstep, hypnotic, hardcore, horror, dark and even avant-garde electronic music for almost 3 hours. A trip into musical realms where no Metal band dared to go before!
Yet despite the fear of some diehard fans of continued experimentation, MORBID ANGEL remained firmly on their original Death Metal ground as the band proved again and again at shows on all major festivals and extended tours throughout Europe and the USA. With a hail of classics and new hits hammering down from the stage, we are reminded, who truly owns the throne of Death Metal: MORBID ANGEL!
|Mr. Vincent||Vocals, bass guitar, keyboards|
Releases Season of Mist
|Sat, Dec 07 2013||US||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Culture Room|