One of the phrases I hate reading in album reviews (and I know I’ve used it myself) is ‘this album doesn’t break new ground’. Well it’s death fucking metal mate, what do you expect? A One Direction cover? Seriously!
Remember how we loved Celtic Frost when they broke new ground with ‘Cold Lake’? Or maybe you recall the adulation that Morbid Angel received for the new ground that was ‘Illud Dribbly Bumpiss’? No? Me either. Bands can sometimes break a bit too much fucking new ground can’t they? Sometimes we don’t want ‘new ground’. We want nice, reliable, firm and familiar old ground. And here ladies & gents is where Morgoth enter my ramble with their newy….. and first album for nineteen years….. ‘Ungod’.
You see, Morgoth were a very well respected band all those years ago, ‘Cursed’ & ‘Odium’ are, in my opinion, pinnacles of German death metal. Morgoth sounded a bit like a German ‘Death’ and were fucking ace….but then they went and, yeah…. broke ‘new ground’ with their ‘Feel Sorry for The Fanatic’ album in 1996. Ten tracks of industro / techno bollocks which, whilst not quite making me want to inject Toilet Duck in my ears (like ‘Cold Lake’ did……and in my eyes after seeing CF done up like Motley Crue’s mums on the back cover) was a source of….. confusion for much of the DM fraternity back then.
Basically it was a bit shit and everyone wrote the band off….. including the band themselves as nothing was really heard from them until last year when they released the ‘God Is Evil’ 7”. This got everyone excited as it sounded like the Morgoth we knew and loved were back….the re-union was on! Then, just before the band were about to record ‘Ungod’, they decided not to work any longer with long time vocalist Marc Grewe. Never fear though as new lad Karsten Jaeger has slipped right in and sounds, to these ears, better than Grewe ever did. Similar but with a bit more ‘Chuck’.
Anyway, new record, what’s it like?
Exactly what you’d hope for from a Morgoth album. From opener ‘House Of Blood’ all memories of ‘….Fanatic’ are blown in to the weeds. Razor sharp, catchy and heavy riffing, thunderous drumming from Mark Reigns and an oppressive doomy atmosphere. A belting start to a monster of a death metal record. Every track is memorable and has something totally killer about it. ‘Snakestate’ with its tribal drubbing and sinister melodies, ‘God Is Evil’ – redone with Jaeger on vocals – just sounds fatter than the 7” version. ‘Nemesis’ is another cracking track which oozes menace. The instrumental title track starts off slow and eerie as hell before battering you to a bloody pulp with some amazing riffage and colossal drumming.
The production is blinding too as is the stunning sleeve artwork….another vinyl purchase awaits me no doubt!
Hopefully this new start for Morgoth will see them re-capture some old fans as well as nick a load of new ones. This is one record that stands triumphantly, head banging in mud & blood spattered boots, ankle deep in old ground……and all the better for it. Top job lads!
(9/10 Mark Eve)