Return of the kings: Morbid Angel are back
A fanbase-splitting album. The departure of a much-loved frontman. After a rocky few years, death metal legends Morbid Angel are freshly refined and back doing what they do best
When you’re constantly trying to do things that are original and new, the creative process is different,” says Steve Tucker. “Originality takes time.”
It’s been six years since the last Morbid Angel album. Recently reinstalled as frontman with the band he led for three albums between 1997 and 2004, vocalist/ bassist Steve is well aware of the expectations surrounding the band’s latest creation, Kingdoms Disdained. One of the most seminal and legendary death metal bands, Morbid Angel cemented their reputation early on with classic debut Altars Of Madness in 1989 and maintained an almost mythical allure for two decades… until they released Illud Divinum Insanus in 2011. The first Morbid Angel album in 16 years to feature original vocalist David Vincent alongside omnipresent guitarist and creative chief Trey Azagthoth, its chaotic but gleefully subversive mixture of brutal metal, industrial techno and – most controversially – a Rob Zombie-style glam- stomper called Radikult, horrified many diehard fans. As a consequence, Kingdoms Disdained’s flat-out, uncompromising death metal assault will surely be hailed as a return to the real Morbid Angel sound. But Steve is having none of it.
“A lot of people would like to hear that there was a lot of drama around that whole thing, but we didn’t talk about that album at all,” Steve shrugs. “When Trey called me, I knew exactly what he wanted the next Morbid Angel album to be like. If he’d wanted it to be anything like Illud…, I don’t think he would’ve called me! I think the chemistry between Trey and I is different from the chemistry between David and Trey. The outcome of Trey and I is always going to be heavier and darker. That’s what I’m looking for in the music, and what I want from the music hasn’t changed since I was a teenager. I just want it to be kickass.”
Times have changed since Steve first trod the boards with Morbid Angel. These days, everything bands release into the online wild is inevitably pored over and picked apart. Kingdoms Disdained will doubtless be subjected to that same scrutiny, but Steve has every confidence that the response will be positive, even if it takes a little while.
“Every album I’ve been a part of with this band, it comes out and people are like, ‘What the fuck? What did you guys do?’ What I say is, ‘Well, what I think we did was make a badass album!’ Ha ha! Eventually time passes and people get back to me, saying, ‘Man, it really grew on me!’ It’s just a part of Morbid Angel. People expect something special and I think we’ve got that here.”