Sunday Old School: Monstrosity
There are areas of the world that can always be relied upon to give you great metal. The Bay Area offers some of the best thrash bands of all time, as does New York, which also contains many of history's greatest hardcore bands. Britain has many legends of the game such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, in addition to the classic heavy metal sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, while a short trip east to Norway showcases many of the most beloved named in black metal. When it comes to death metal, perhaps one place more than any other can lay claim to being synonymous with the genre, the southern American state of Florida, which has given us such bands as Obituary, Morbid Angel and today's featured group, Monstrosity.
Monstrosity began life in Fort Lauderdale in 1990, the brainchild of former Malevolent Creation drummer Lee Harrison and Maryland native George "Corpsegrinder" Fischer. The duo were soon joined by another ex Malevolent Creation member, Jon Rubin and Cynic bassist Mark Van Erp. After slogging it out in the state scene, the band were eventually rewarded with a record deal with German label, Nuclear Blast. The label released the group's debut album, "Imperial Doom" in 1992, for which they were assisted in the recording by another Cynic member, Jason Gobel. The record was considered very successful, selling over forty thousand copies and receiving rave reviews from the metal press, as well as allowing them to tour Europe with Dutch technical death metal band, Pestilence.
Despite the praise "Imperial Doom" garnered, it was to be their only album released through Nuclear Blast, as their relationship with the label soured over royalty disagreements, leading Monstrosity to leave the company and Lee Harrison forming his own label, Conquest Music. Though no longer signed to Nuclear Blast, they did license their next album, "Millennium" to them for worldwide distribution in 1996. It was a landmark album for the group, with two new members in tow in the shape of guitarist Jason "Tux" Morgan and bass player Kelly Conlon, as well as showcasing a much more technical approach to the music. It was perhaps most notable however, for being their last album with Corpsegrinder, who had previously agreed to replace Six Feet Under vocalist Chris Barnes after his departure from Cannibal Corpse, and recorded both "Millennium" and the Cannibal Corpse album, "Vile" in the same studio, sometimes doing vocals for both bands on the same day.
In Corpsegrinder's place came Eulogy vocalist Jason Avery, who can be heard on four tracks on "Millennium." Avery made his full recording debut with the band on their third album, 1999's, "In Dark Purity," which was initially released through a German label named Metal Age, though it would later turn out that the company was a con and so the record was eventually acquired by The Plague Rec. Fans of the band were not disappointed as the album proved to be well worthy of their excellent standards and Avery was found to be a great choice of new vocalist. It was followed by a compilation album, "Enslaving the Masses" in 2001, which mostly consisted of early demos and a poorly received live EP, "Live Extreme Brazilian Tour 2002," which was actually released in 2003.
That same year, the band recorded and released a fourth album, "Rise to Power." Once more, it was mostly met with a positive response from fans, though not all critics were particularly warm. They toured across America to promote the record and were even invited by the Colombian government to perform at a festival in Bogotá, which was attended by well over eighty thousand people. However, this was to mark another chapter ending for the group, as the band parted company with Jason Avery in 2005. They initially replaced him with Brian Werner of Infernaeon, who performed vocal duties on a European tour and a handful of American shows, before himself being replaced by Mike Hrubovcak. At the same time, guitarist Tony Norman was replaced by Mark English.
With new members on board, Monstrosity entered the studio to record their fifth album, "Spiritual Apocalypse," which was released in 2007 and featured guest appearances from Atheist vocalist, Kelly Schaefer, as well as guest solos from Matt LaPorte of Jon Oliva's Pain. Critics were particularly pleased with the album and so were fans by and large and the group promoted the album by returning to South America, most notably performing a number of shows in Chile and Peru, before heading to Europe to perform at such festivals as Party San in Germany and Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic, the latter of which was released as a DVD entitled, "Live Apocalypse" in 2012. Since then the band has continued to perform live but last year announced that they had begun work on their first album of new material in nine years, which will hopefully be released sooner rather than later and further cement their place as one the great treasures of Florida's legendary death metal scene.
Monstrosity - "Imperial Doom"
Monstrosity - "Final Cremation"
Monstrosity - "Devious Instinct"
Monstrosity - "Fragments of Resolution"
Monstrosity - "The Angel's Venom"
Monstrosity - "Suffering To Be Conquered"
Monstrosity - "Wave of Annihilation"
Monstrosity - "The Bloodline Horror"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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