Sunday Old School: Morbid Angel
Nowadays in the world of metal music, death metal is probably one of the most popular genres, with bands all around the world copying the innovators and sometimes putting their own spin on the style. Neither take would be possible if it weren’t for the early bands who made the genre worth respecting, and one of the clearest cases for this is Florida’s own Morbid Angel. The band was formed in 1984 in the city of Tampa by guitarist Trey Azgagthoth (born George Emmanuel III,) it would be some time before the band were able to release their first official album. Although numerous demos were recorded as well as an album, "Abominations Of Desolation," it wouldn’t be until 1988 that the band released their first record, in the form of the 7" single, "Thy Kingdom Come." The band then finally released an album entitled, "Altars Of Madness" in 1989 through Combat Records (and via Earache Records in Europe.) The album was a success in the metal underground, with many now claiming that the record is the best in the band’s catalogue, including such contemporaries as Cannibal Corpse bassist, Alex Webster.
The next album, "Blessed Are The Sick" followed in 1991 and also received overwhelming praise, including great reviews from music journalists. The album was also very much influenced by classical music, with Azgagthoth going as far as to dedicate the album to Mozart. It was after the band released, "Covenant" in 1993, that they began to receive more mainstream attention, becoming one of the first death metal bands to do so. Their video for the song, "God Of Emptiness" was featured on the popular cartoon, Beavis And Butthead and the record entered the American Heatseekers chart at number 24. Perhaps even better than these achievements of the time, "Covenant" has since gone on to be the best selling death metal album in history according to Nielson Soundscan.
The band was dealt a blow after releasing the fourth album "Domination" in 1995, when bass player and vocalist Dave Vincent decided to leave the group in order to perform with his wife’s band, Genitorturers. He was replaced by Steve Tucker, who marked his recording debut with the band on the album, "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" in 1997. The record was well received by fans willing to stick with the group following Vincent’s departure, with many likening it to their debut album. Following the band’s next release, "Gateways To Annihilation," the band once again found themselves without a frontman, when Tucker announced he was leaving the group, resulting in Morbid Angel recruiting Hate Eternal singer/bassist Jared Anderson, though Tucker would return to the group in time for the next album, "Heretic."
In 2004 it was announced that Morbid Angel had reunited with Dave Vincent and fans began clamoring for a new album. Though the band continued to perform live shows, particular on the European festival circuit where they performed at such events as Wacken Open Air and Graspop Metal Meeting, signs of a new album didn’t emerge until 2008, when the group began playing a new song entitled, "Nevermore" at shows. This week however, the band will finally release their new album, when "Illud Divinum Insanus" hits the shelves in Europe tomorrow (June 6th) and the following day in North America. Although not yet released, the album has already been the source of controversy, with reviewers finding themselves divided over the more industrial influence the band has presented this time. Whether the album is a success or not is irrelevant, as death metal fans can rest assured that one of the best bands from the genre is back with the intention of staying.
Morbid Angel - "Chapel Of Ghouls"
Morbid Angel - "God Of Emptiness"
Morbid Angel - "Enshrined By Grace"
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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