Do you remember the scene in Ridley Scott’s Alien in which Harry Dean Stanton’s (RIP) Brett gets offed by the titular space invader? Our younger readers may want to pull that up on YouTube, but the reason I ask is because the grimy, damp and claustrophobic set design on display matches the aesthetic that Ossuarium is serving up on Living Tomb (20 Buck Spin). Brief, almost acoustic passages come in here and there, but for most of its run time, Living Tomb lives up to its moniker. Continue reading
When frontman David Vincent returned to the Morbid Angel fold in 2004, there was much rejoicing. When the result of this reunion, the ill-fated Illud Divinium Insanus (Season of Mist) surfaced in 2011, there was considerably less rejoicing. All of a sudden, internet forums, and websites like Facebook and YouTube found themselves inundated with knee-jerk (over)reaction videos posted by inexplicably angry middle-aged men describing the new album as the worst thing since Hitler, cancer, or stepping on Lego. Continue reading
Morbid Angel kicked off their headlining tour with Suffocation, Revocation and Withered last night in Orlando, and brought some new material with them. Continue reading
Morbid Angel has returned. Continue reading
“I’ve really become sick to death of where some bands have taken this idea of Technical Death Metal. What Should Not Be Unearthed (Nuclear Blast) is what I’ve been referring to as an “anti-technique” album. We are playing what’s generally called Technical Death Metal, but I see people playing songs that are composed of fast arpeggios, and tapping, and just a barrage of insane riffs that are all awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I walk away from it going ‘That was fucking awesome but I can’t remember a goddamn thing I just listened to’.”
Karl Sanders of Nile. is right. The death of the song, particularly in extreme metal, is a personal bugbear, as what made classic Death Metal great was that despite the raging, despite the brutality and extremity and full on technical ability of a lot of the greats of the genre, Death Metal used to be about songs. Many bands now are so concerned with showing off their flawless technique they’ve forgotten about “the song”. It’s a concept I remember speaking to Trey Azagthoth (a long-time friend of Sanders) back on the Formulas Fatal To The Flesh (Earache) tour, that technique is there to help you achieve the soundscapes and ideas in your head, but it should never be about how quick your fingers can flurry up and down the fretboard, how fucked-up a jazzy passage can be; unless it benefits the song, what is the point…?
“This album is anti-technique. I said to myself when I was writing “I’m not going to give a fuck whether this riff is hard to play, or whether it’s tricky or whether it’s simple or whatever the fuck it is, it doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is that it’s heavy, and I fucking like it. It might be a simple riff. It might mean it’s a tough riff. But the idea is the song is of paramount importance, and the riff is just a means to frigging get there.
“It’s automatically assumed, like a given in geometry – whenever you do a geometric equation, you start with a set of givens, they give you that, it’s bang, you gotta start there – being able to play your guitar is a given in technical metal; if you can’t play, you don’t get to walk through the door.
“So, this idea of anti-technique was mentally very liberating, it helped us to think “Let’s just write songs that fans will fucking appreciate, and we’ll have fun playing” and that’s the only concern we will go by.”
The Morbid Angel’s, the Death’s, even the Cannibal Corpse’s of this world possess or possessed some incredible musicians, but they all got to the status they did through writing great songs. It’s a shame that the skill seems to be getting lost in a flurry of arpeggios and syncopation.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the people listening to it. I think there’s a symbiotic, yin and yang relationship with the listener. For music to exist, someone has got to play it and someone’s got to listen to it. And if you don’t care about both sides of the equation, the shit will get out of fucking balance, and I think there’s been a lot of disrespect for listeners in recent years.”Nile. Photo by Hannah Verbeuren.
I recently had the joy of reading and reviewing ‘Choosing Death’ by Albert Mudrian. In it he highlighted that when Nile first burst on the scene, Death Metal was flagging. He mentioned you as the leaders of the Rebirth of Death Metal, and the band that helped “save” Death Metal… Did it feel like that at the time, was it an inspiration or the metaphoric albatross?
“It’s kinda like the Life of Brian movie. Brian is not actually a messiah, but everyone just thinks he is. We were just doing what we do, and for whatever reason, the wheels of fate were spinning, we found ourselves in a position where, even though we were at a point where Death Metal had died out, we were just playing what the fuck we liked. We didn’t care if it was popular or not, and had no thought of the bigger picture, or our place in it. So, we’re like the reluctant messiah.
“It’s like we opened the door, and the room was a mess, and we found a vacuum cleaner in our hands.”
Perhaps coming to the scene a bit later in life than some of their contemporaries helped to avoid producing the bloated, boring Death Metal of the late 90’s. Though Sanders was around, and knew many of the original greats, it wasn’t until a near decade after the birth of Death Metal that Nile became a serious entity…
“I think when you’ve lived a little bit of life, you look at things differently and see more. I’d seen enough of my comrades fall by the wayside. The road to your band getting somewhere is literally littered on each side with the wreckage of those who have gone before and failed. It’s easy to see other people failing, so by the time it was our turn, we could see enough to scare us into staying on the road.”
Death Metal, with reluctant saviours Nile a key part of its’ resurrection, is now as popular as it has ever been, particularly in terms of live tickets, and festivals often see acts like Carcass and At The Gates high up the bills. Yet where does Sanders see Nile? Are they one of the “historic” acts; a “classic” Death Metal band, or a current band?
“We see ourselves as still working hard to bring our music to the people, with still a lot of work to be done and places to go and still lots of things we want to achieve as a band. We had a very similar discussion the other day at a band meeting and it was decided we were going to play 6 songs from the new record. Maybe bands of our age, we’ve got 20 plus years as Nile, wouldn’t be saying that, they’d be saying which one or two songs of this new record should we play as we have to play all this old stuff.
“There are elements of our audience that will get angry if they don’t hear “that song”, and we respect that, and we realize that and do care about it, but we also care about staying vital and pushing forward.
“In life you have to walk with confidence, because how you present yourself is how people perceive you. So, if you want people to think your album sucks, don’t play it!”
In a post to Morbid Angel’s Facebook page today Trey Azagthoth announced that Steve Tucker would be returning to Morbid Angel on bass and vocals, to work on their next album, which has been expected to releaase in 2016. This announcements effectively ends the reunion with David Vincent at hthe helm of the band. In a related post online, Drummer Tim Yeung has announced his departure from the band as well.
Trey’s Post to Morbid Angel’s Facebook account:
Trey is excited to announce that he and Steve Tucker are working together again for Morbid Angel and the next record will certainly be an amazingly sick world beater. Hi5!”
Tim Yeung’s statement:
“I’ve been waiting to break the news for a while about this. Now seems like the proper time to do so.
“As some of you know, there have been some lineup changes with Morbid Angel. Unfortunately, due to financial differences, I will not be continuing with them.
“It has been a great five years being involved with Morbid Angel. I’ve met a ton of great people all over the world, played some amazing shows, and have a ton of great memories as well as stories.
“I wish Trey [Azagthoth, guitar] and Morbid Angel all the best. As for myself, I’m always up for the next opportunity life throws my way.”