Monday, 24 October 2011


MORGOTH are an old favourite of mine and a band I listened to A LOT over the years ever since I was a young teenage death metalhead, they are a band who had a profound influence on me all those years ago when I was just starting to get heavily involved in the death metal scene and the underground and getting into the more extreme side of music and then a little while later with forming my own death metal band. Morgoth have remained a constant favourite with me ever since I first heard them back at the end of 1990 on the John Peel show, I was blown away by the track he played by them which was from "The Eternal Fall" mini album if memory serves me right(can't remember exactly which song it was now though), I taped it and had it blasting through my walkman speakers at school for days afterwards, I remember showing one of my fellow metalhead schoolfriends that Morgoth song I taped from John Peels radio one show and excitedly pointing out it was one of the most brutal things I had ever heard, which at that time it most definetly was!!

About 21 years have passed since that night I first heard Morgoth and I still get the same feeling when listening to the first few Morgoth recordings tpday as I did back when I was 14/15/16 years old, musically they always came across like the younger European cousin of early Death, Autopsy and Obituary whilst still remaining to have their own unique style, there is something about Morgoth that is just inherently European, a certain mystique and dark aura shrouds the bands music and lyrics which take you into a fantastical netherworld of horrific, nightmareish entitys like the ones depicted on the covers of the "Resurrection Absurd"  and "The Eternal Fall" EPs. and the bands name itself was lifted from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The bands debut full length album "Cursed" took the band up a level in every possible way and still remains one of the most darkest sounding death metal albums ever swathed in a gloomy, sinister and sullen atmosphere which oozes out of the speakers through every tortured vocal line and riff. 

When I first found out Morgoth were reforming and going to be playing a lot of early material again I got very excited, so far they have only done a few warm up club shows in Germany and some European festivals but the reformation seems to be gathering more steam with the announcement that they will play the Maryland Death Fest next year and some other notable festivals so I am hoping that they will finally make a return to the UK in 2012 so I can finally witness the band live in person as I was too young to see them when they toured the UK in 1991 with Massacre and Immolation in support of the classic "Cursed" album and since Morgoth have had such a huge influence on me I just had to make them a band of the week and I also sent some questions to vocalist Marc Grewe about the "Cursed" album, the initial split, the reformation and their future plans as an active band again and here is what he had to say:-

 so 20 years ago since "Cursed" was released, how time flies! That album was an integral part of my listening when growing up as a young teenage death metalhead who was still at school, what are your thoughts looking back on this album all those years later and what it did for the band? I think it was definetly the release that took Morgoth up to another level and is now widely regarded as a death metal classic by many!

Well, before we talked about the reunion, I haven´t  listened to "Cursed" for a couple of years, but immediatly thought that it is kind of timeless, when I heard it. It still carries this autumn-like atmosphere. Of course it was our best selling album, but I always thought, that was because of the "good old times"....but looking back now I realized that it has something special about was great to see that even younger kids come up to me after the show and wanna talk about that album and what it means to them...thats very honouring to hear and fantastic to know that "Cursed" hasn´t lost its "charme" for even younger fans.

 When you were writing "Cursed" did you have an idea you were penning a very special album that would have a huge influence on many people at the time of its release and also have a long running and significant influence 20 years later?!

Well we never thought about that while writing the album. Actually we created our own atmosphere by renting out an old hunters barn during the fall/winter of 1990/91 in the woods where as our hometown Meschede is surrounded by hills and trees, so that might had an impact on the songwriting. Listening to it nowadays, it certainly had.

 What were the general musical and lyrical inspirations behind that album?
 musically we wanted to create an album that had a absolute dark and nihilistic atmosphere. Combining doomy parts with ultra brutal but catchy riffs. Lyrically we always tried to deal with "real life matters" that were disguised in metaphoric layers and coats...more like a dark novel by Kafka or so...

 What are your personal fave songs from that album and why?
I personally like the last two songs very much..Opportunity is Gone and Darkness...both are very different from each other but carry the whole feeling of the record and how what it was meant...dark, heavy, mysterious..

 Is there anything looking back that you would have liked to have done differently or are you satisfied with how that album turned out even all these years later?
Well, actually there is not really much I would change..Randy Burns did a great job on that album...maybe I would feature the bass a little more, but thats it.

 You supported that album with an extensive European tour with Massacre and Immolation which included a bunch of UK dates (that I was sadly too young to attend!), do you have any anecdotes or fond memories you would like to share from that tour? What were the personal highlights for you?
Were you guys already fans of the other bands music?

Well of course we really enjoyed touring with Massacre and Immolation. I am still in good contact with Rick Rozz and Kam Lee...also met the Immolation guys last year when they supported Napalm Death.
The whole tour went absolutely great, so we had always a reason to party on the bus! A funny thing during the UK tour was the one night after the in Birmingham we all got invited by an indian guy to join a traditional Indian Family Party...that was kind of bizarre, having like 20 metal guys parying with a huge indian community in traditional cloths in an old "Tudor Style" villa...later they even played our albums on their PA haha..crazy.

 After that album you went in more of an experiemental direction shall we
 say with the two albums "Odium" and "Feel Sorry For The Fanatic" what
 are your thoughts on those albums and the experimentation you did on those looking back?

As a band we were always looking to discover new things and always kept curious and "open minded".Musical tastes among the members diversed and we tried to get everybodys influence into the records...We just didn´t want to do something like be safe and go for a "Cursed Pt.2" thing..
I still like "Odium" a lot! FSFTF is very very experimental and I totally understand that traditional DM maniacs did not like that album haha...but fuck it, it´s just the weird stuff that came out of us to that certain time :-)

Why did the band break up in the first place?
Well, we knew after the tour we did with Die Krupps, that we wouldn´t continue anymore. It just felt strange.The personal directions all of us were taking didn´t cross anymore. We never called it was more like an endless 14 year sleep haha

 I know inbetween the band going silent and this 20 years reformation you were involved in various musical projects such as Power of Expression and Insidious Disease...any other projects you have been involved with that you would like to tell us about?!

Insidious Disease is the project/band I am doing now. We released "Shadowcast" last year and we will definately do another album in the future...Power of Expression (album was called: X-Territorial) was a project I did with some friends I know from the German HC scene. Great fun too. The guy who is doing the live sound for Slipknot (Hi Shirt!) produced it. It was always great fun to play that stuff live on stage. Another project was the Swedish band Comecon - Fable Frolic came out in 1996. It was a great experience to work with Thomas Skogsberg at the legendary Sunlight for that...kind of weird/experimental Death Metal stuff aswell.

 So onto the reformation, whos idea was it to initially do this to celebrate 20 years since "Cursed"'s release? Please introduce the reformation line up.

I got asked quite often about Morgoth, while I did the interviews for Insidious Disease last year. So I asked around and after a while got two of the original and songwriting members of the band going for it. They were head over heals on that and we thought about getting Morgoth together at least for some shows. I knew that Carsten Otterbach and Rudiger Hennecke wouldn´t be able to do it, as they are too busy in the actual jobs. So we found drummer Marc Reign (ex-Destruction) who was introduced to me by Mille of Kreator during their tour last year. The guy who is playing bass is called Soti Kelekidis (Sinew/Arms To Amen). An absolutely amazing bass player and the funniest lad ever!

How have the shows been going so far? Any highlights? I guess Party San must have been special?!A And of course playing Wacken this year?! Your thoughts on these shows?! How has the overall response been from fans both old and new?!

Well, all the shows went fantastic! I even wouldn´t point out a certain show so far, as all of them were special in their own way.

You guys used to be seen wearing demo shirts by Unleashed and such bands, do you all still listen to much death metal all these years later? What is your opinion on the current death metal scene and also the more recent material by other older classic bands such as Unleashed, Obituary etc.. the scene seems stronger than ever right now with a lot of great new young death metal bands playing in the old school style.

Yeah, I listen to anything that is good...wheather it´s called Death Metal, Black Metal, Grindcore, Doom ...whatever. My musical taste has spread over the years. So I wouldn´t say I just listen to Extreme stuff. I still like to discover, explore be open minded and learn...thats the best thing to do if you´re a music lover I guess.
And, yes! I think it´s great to see how the scene developed after the years of depression at the end of the 90ies...Its beautyful to see that even the younger kids buy all the old classic Death Metal albums...Wicked!!

 Do you plan to just make it a short term reformation or do you think it might develop into a more longer lasting one? Would it be too hopeful to expect any new material even from the band or are just going to concentrate on the old classic material?

So far we have decided to continue. We will be playing Neurotic Death Fest, Maryland Deathfest and some other shows. We are having absolutely fun on stage and as long as we have that, we will continue. We even have talked about some new stuff, but we ´ll give it all the time it needs. It has to be quality, thats the most important point for all of us!

Any plans to bring the band to UK in 2012? Like Bloodstock festival for example? Have you had any offers to play London or anywhere? Are you just going to be mainly keeping it to festival appearances?

Well nothing fixed for the UK yet. But It would be great to come back. I heared many good things about Bloodstock, so that would be an amzing festival to be part of, I guess!

 I must say your vocals are still sounding great after all these years! Were you surprised at how well your voice has held up? What was it like to start growling over the old classics again?!

Wow, thanx a lot! It´s like riding a bike...once you´ve done it, it won´t go aways just feels great to perform the old shit again.

 You are playing Maryland Death Fest next year, what are your expectations for that? Did Morgoth ever get to tour/play the states first time around? What other shows for 2012 are confirmed right now?

We toured the states before, but we never played a festival in the US..,so thats a premier. I just heard good thing about MDF aswell. Good organization and a dedicated audience, that likes to get hammered into the concrete of a parking lot...sounds good to me :-)

 What is the plans for Morgoth in 2012?

Gonna play some more shows...and we´ll tell you about a new album later on I guess ;-)

 Anything you would like to add, the last words are yours Marc thanks for
 answering this short interview!

 Thanx to all of those who keept track with MORGOTH and gave us such an unexpected great welcome back! shout all over the world: See ya in the Pits Of Utumno!!


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