All Content: 1984-2013 (C) Morbid Angel (P)1997www.MorbidAngel.com
Throughout history only a handful of artists have been able to achieve a truly iconic stature within any given artform. MORBID ANGEL is among those select few. Shattering the boundaries of creativity and imagination while evolving with each groundbreaking release throughout its 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. Formed in 1984 by founding member Trey Azagthoth, the Floridian band went through a number of lineup changes and recorded the now highly sought-after demos, Scream for Blasphemies and Bleed for the Devil. 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. The 7’’ single Thy Kingdom Come was released in Europe in 1988 and MORBID ANGEL was prepared to make a profound universal statement in form 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 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 Tresors 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 was 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, saw its release later that year, providing the fans with an earlier chapter of the band’s work. MORBID ANGEL, however, was prepared to break another barrier.
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 and only major label release by a death metal band. 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 lineup 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 behind the board. The final mixes were made at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen. This would prove to be a massive success for MORBID ANGEL, as over one hundred and fifty thousand copies would be 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 Motorhead and Black Sabbath. The video for the single ‘Rapture’ premiered on Headbanger’s Ball, followed by an interview with 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, the band toured extensively 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 militance. David Vincent's departure from the band had shocked the fanbase. Yet MORBID ANGEL brought forth its underground roots with a truly awe-inspiring release of the most beautifully-ugliest, meanest material throughout its catalog, introducing a new bassist/vocalist into the lineup - Steve Tucker. 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 diehard 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 its release to be replaced by Jared Anderson (1976-2006), 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 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 fanbase was truly intrigued by the return of David Vincent for a series of South American dates, putting MORBID ANGEL back into its classic form and surprising the fans with this unexpected reformation of the classic MORBID ANGEL trio of Azagthoth, Sandoval and Vincent. The band then completed the extremely successful Masters Of Chaos Tour. Another historic milestone in MORBID ANGEL's career arrived with the return of guitarist Erik Rutan for a number of European festivals, featuring the legendary Domination lineup together once again in over ten years.
In spring of 2008 Morbid Angel announced tryouts for the second guitarist position, which was filled by Destructhor (Myrkskog/ex-Zyklon). The band toured heavily as they worked on material for the new album.
Illud Divinum Insanus, MORBID ANGEL’s eighth studio album and the first since legendary frontman David Vincent rejoined the fold, was released on Season Of Mist Records in June of 2011. The album features Tim Yeung behind the drum kit, as the longtime drummer Pete Sandoval recouperated from major back surgery. After touring Europe, Morbid Angel announced the 2012 Illud Divinum Insanus North American Tour with Dark Funeral, Grave and VadimVon.
Currently the band is preparing to annihilate the extreme metal fanbase with the 20th Anniversary of Covenant U.S. Tour in fall of 2013.