Morgoth originally formed
in Meschede, Germany in 1985 during death metal’s most formative years. In
1989, their ‘Pits Of Utomno’ demo
garnered attention from the then just formed Century Media. Over the next nine years, Morgoth released three
albums and a collection of EP’s to moderate success, performing with bands such
as Kreator, Obituary and Immolation
along the way. Eventually in 1998, Morgoth disbanded after a brief and
blundered venture into the then popular industrial style, until 2010 saw a
ferocious return to form for them with festival slots around Europe.
first studio album for nineteen years, albeit without original vocalist Marc
Grewe. ‘Ungod’ is very old-school
in its approach and is a stern reminder of how far death metal has come since
those original grind tapes of the mid 80’s. The album adopts a mid-tempo
chug-fest of grating riffs and uneasy atmospherics reminiscent of early Carcass and Death. As the new vocalist as of December 2014, Karsten Jäger
reinforces this influence with vocals that are incredibly reminiscent of
Death’s ‘Leprosy’ and ‘Spiritual Healing’ era; so much so that
it would not feel out of place in the current Death To All lineup.
This could be a dividing factor of ‘Ungod’; they are not pushing any areas
of musicality or technicality that haven’t been heard before. Their songwriting
and performance stay on a very narrow blueprint that rarely ventures into
anything reminiscent of death metal on this side of the century. Their saving
grace is the intent and authenticity to death metal’s roots that will win fans
of the 90’s sound over. People may note the lack of range and sustained screams
heard previously by Marc Grewe,
but overall, Karsten’s vocals add something new and more sinister to the
of the album “God Is Evil” was
released last year, and with such a title, very much laid down the groundwork
for the intent of ‘Ungod’. The lyrics
are dark and evil, personified by the mid-paced dirge of guitar riffs that
morph and change and never relent. The guitar interplay between Harald Busse
and Sebastian Swart is notable; they utilise the twin guitar attack with
uneasy atmospherics that pop out of the framework to again reinforce the
malevolent nature of the album. The album opener “House of Blood” is another mid-paced stomper, and a great way to
begin a set and not just an album. Other highlights include “The Dark Sleep”, which begins with a
church bell ringing; perhaps it’s a nod to “Black
Sabbath”, but either way, it’s a brutal and dark masterpiece. The rest of
the album, albeit of similar quality begins to wain after a few listens.
Without a distinct character and voice of their own there is little framework
for new fans to really sink their teeth into.
comeback album for a band who have long been on their knees. With 1996’s
critically panned ‘Feel Sorry For The
Fanatic’, Morgoth must have felt a sense of unfinished business for all the
time they were disbanded. Having been away for so long, a whole new generation
of metal fans are ready for the taking, most of who are likely to have never
heard the band before. Fans from the first time around will be pleased to hear
Morgoth venturing back down the path that led to their most successful music.
But just how successful Morgoth will be at dividing and rising above their new
adversaries, only time will tell.