Published Dec 08, 2017This year marks a rebirth of sorts for legendary Florida death metal act Morbid Angel, as they unveil their ninth album, Kingdoms Disdained. It's their first since 2011's Illud Divinum Insanus received criticism for its drastic change in the band's sound, but also sees the return of vocalist/bassist Steve Tucker.
Kingdoms Disdained is Tucker's first album with Morbid Angel since 2003's Heretic, and the first Morbid Angel release he's been a part of writing since 2000's Gateways to Annihilation. As Tucker tells Exclaim!, he never expected to be back with Morbid Angel again.
"I think at this point I've kind of learned that every time I've said, 'Yeah, that'll never happen,' it does," he laughs. "But no, I never really thought this would happen. Honestly once [vocalist/bassist] David [Vincent] came back [in 2004], I figured, 'Well that's that,' you know? And here we are years later and circumstances, whatever they were, led to it happening again."
Tucker says that despite nearly 15 years since his last album with Morbid Angel, being back and writing again with sole original member/core songwriter/guitarist Trey Azagthoth has been a natural transition.
"It's kind of weird because years have passed, but it doesn't really feel like [it]. I guess I've got that with some people in my life, where it doesn't matter if I don't see them for five years or seven years or eight years, it seems like we just hung out a week ago. And I seem to have that with Trey.
"Once we were there and we were rehearsing for a few days, it was pretty quick that I fell back into it. I was already feeling the vibe. There wasn't a lot discussed, there wasn't a lot of talk about it at all except for, 'Oh man, I've got this idea for this song or that song.' And it was just organic and natural, that's the only way I can put it. It was cool."
As well as bringing back Tucker for Kingdoms Disdained, Azagthoth also enlisted new members, drummer Scott Fuller (Annihilated) and guitarist Dan Vadim Von (VadimVon). The result is an album that restores Morbid Angel's sound to its former glory. Tucker says he didn't feel any pressure coming back into the band following the backlash that ensued from their previous album, Illud Divinum Insanus.
"I really didn't worry about anything regarding their last album at all. I mean, if anything, I felt that was part of the staircase that led to me being back to doing another album," he explains. "I'm sure that was a factor in why I was asked to come back. I think I'm a pretty good judge of music and vibe and things like that, so once I started hearing the demos of the songs and I knew what we were putting together, I was nothing but confident.
"The thing about jamming with Trey is I can depend on that guy to just come up with some neat shit, always. The riffs that he's going to come up with are just guaranteed to have some cool elements there and that makes it more interesting and fun along the way. So I welcomed getting to write music with Trey again. That and the fans were the real reasons why I came back to do this."
Much like Morbid Angel's previous material that features Tucker, Kingdoms Disdained captures a very harsh and destructive vibe, as well as an intensity that was lost on the band's last album. Tucker says that he expected this release to be very aggressive, particularly in comparison to Illud Divinum Insanus.
"That's what I just figured all along, was for the record to just be mean and kind of gnarly. Because of the chemical makeup of Trey and I jamming together, I think that sort of makes that sound, that makes it a little bit more aggressive," he explains, adding that the aggression that comes through on Kingdoms Disdained has a lot to do with the band working together in the rehearsal space.
"I needed to get in a room and be a part of Morbid Angel before I actually started to write any kind of music myself," he says. "There's just something about being in Florida, with the humidity and being in the room, hearing the blast beats live. It's so different from sitting in front of a computer writing a song. It's just so much more exciting and it felt really refreshing.
"For the vibe, for me personally, I felt the best thing to do was just to do it in a rehearsal space. It was necessary for me to just feel like I'm a part of Morbid Angel and for making the music feel like Morbid Angel again."
Kingdoms Disdained is out now via Silver Lining Music.