Morbid Angel

Morbid Angel is a band from Florida (USA), formed in 1984 by Trey Azagthoth, considered a pioneer and crucial to the development of Death Metal.

Initially, the band’s lyrics focused on subjects related to Satanism, occultism and anti-Christianity. Still, after the album “Blessed are the Sick”, the band began to talk about the ancient Sumerian gods in their songs. Many of these compositions were inspired by Simon Necronomicon and H.P. Lovecraft. However, some anti-religious elements continued to permeate the lyrics. Their albums are notable for having their names in alphabetical order (the first begins with the letter A, the second with B, etc.): Guitarist and songwriter Trey Azagthoth commented in an interview that it was a coincidence on the first two releases, but has since become purposeful.

British magazine Terrorizer placed Morbid Angel’s debut album, “Altars of Madness “(1989), at the top of its list of the “40 greatest Death Metal albums”. Decibel Magazine also ranked Trey Azagthoth as the best Death Metal guitarist ever. The band’s songs are complex in their arrangements due to the considerable technical skills of both Azagthoth and drummer Pete Sandoval, who now plays in the grindcore band Terrorizer.
By 2003, the band had sold 445,000 album copies on American soil; their third album, “Covenant” (1993), is the best-selling Death Metal album in the United States (+150,000 units).

Early Years
Formed in the mid-1980s in Tampa, Florida by Trey Azagthoth, Morbid Angel recorded in 1986 their demo album, “Abominations of Desolation” (but not released until 1991).

In 1989, the world met the first official Morbid Angel record, titled “Altars of Madness” with Trey Azagthoth, David Vincent, Pete Sandoval and Richard Brunelle. This album became the band’s greatest classic and one of the greatest of the style. Songs such as “Immortal Rites”, “Suffocation”, “Visions From The Dark Side”, “Damnation”, “Maze Of Torment”, and others from the album have innovated the style and become influences for many current bands.

In 1991, it was the turn of the album “Blessed Are the Sick”, which took Morbid Angel to a high level within the style, giving the musicians a reputation as truly innovative and visionary songwriters.
Now, the band leaned on two classics that were very well accepted by the public, Morbid Angel being the first extreme band to sign with a major label.

In 1993, the band released the album “Covenant” which sold over 150,000 copies and, even without guitarist Richard Brunelle, proved that the band would grow more and more, reaching levels that no one had ever imagined they would reach, especially conceptualizing the great composer of the band Trey Azagthoth.

In 1994, the band re-released their ’86 demo tape in CD format.

In 1995, the “Domination” album came out, marking the debut of Erik Rutan (ex-Ripping Corpse), who plays guitar and keyboards. The musicians considered this album their best yet, being the second to be released by a major label, Warner.

In 1996, the live album Entangled in Chaos was released, with the band’s classics recorded during European concerts.

Change of vocalist
In 1997, David Vincent left the band, causing the fans to worry about the future of Morbid Angel. David was a very important figure who left his mark on the band’s unique style. Soon, Steve Tucker (ex-Ceremony) came in David’s place, faithfully performing the same function as him, and everything was solved.

In 1998, the band released the album “Fatal Formulas to the Flesh”, heavy to the extreme, which recovers the speed that the band had been slowly losing in their songs over the years, being the fastest until then. The album was recorded in the band’s hometown, at Morrisound Stúdio, and Azagthoth’s solos were recorded in his own house. According to him, it would be much better to work on them because he likes to be able to spend a lot of time on the solos. The new vocals were perfect, without disfiguring the band, and were very well accepted by the old fans. This proves that Steve Tucker has the capacity for the job he inherited from David Vincent.

In 2000, another Death Metal masterpiece was given to the world, the album “Gateways to Annihilation”, shining with its dynamic and extensive passages. After the line-up is stabilized with Trey Azagthoth, Steve Tucker, Erik Rutan and Pete Sandoval, Rutan leaves the group.

They recorded a new album in 2003, “Heretic”, the last with Tucker, which is not as acclaimed as the previous one. After the tour, Vincent rejoined the band in 2004 place of Tucker. The trio that recorded “Covenant” plays several European shows and participates in major festivals such as Wacken 2006.

In May 2008, it was announced that Thor Anders, “Destructor”, would be the band’s new guitarist.

New album and recent activity
After a long time, in June 2010, the band returned to the studios with Erik Rutan as a sound engineer to record their eighth album. As Pete Sandoval underwent back surgery due to a herniated disc problem, Tim Yeung (Divine Heresy, All that Remains, Nile, Hate Eternal, Vital Remains) was his replacement to play the drums on the album sessions.

Released in June 2011 via Season of Mist, “Illud Divinum Insanus” showed a new approach to sound, dropping the band’s characteristic old-school Death Metal and featuring an insertion of electronic music elements in several tracks. The album was criticized by fans of the group due to its modern sound, even though it achieved a good number of sales.

If you wish to read more about the band, you can check this article on the “Season of Myst” website and check on the News about the band on Metal Injection. They were touring and talking about new music coming.

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