Morbid Angel Biography

Formed in Florida, USA, in 1983, this influential death metal band’s original line-up comprised Dallas Ward (bass/vocals), Trey Azagthoth (George Emmanuel III, 26 March 1965, Bellingham, Washington, USA; guitar/keyboards) and Mike Browning (vocals/drums). A number of bass players then passed through the line-up in the next three years before the recruitment of Sterling Von Scarborough. The trio quickly gained a following on the underground death metal scene on account of their extreme, ultra-fast musical approach. The band recorded the self-financed Abominations Of Desolation in 1986. However, unhappy with the recordings, they decided not to release them, as had originally been intended, on their own Gorque Records label. They then underwent a personnel change, recruiting guitarist Richard Brunelle, replacing Browning with Pete Sandoval, and Scarborough with David Vincent (b. David Stuppnig, 22 May 1965, USA; ex-Terrorizer). The latter gave the band much more of an identity with his strong, charismatic presence (he had previously produced Abominations Of Desolation).

Morbid Angel continued to gain momentum and eventually attracted the attention of Earache Records, resulting in the band’s official debut, Altars Of Madness, released in 1989, to great acclaim among death metal fans. By the release of Blessed Are The Sick, they had toured Europe extensively, establishing a strong following in the process. The album, like its forerunner, produced by Tom Morris, was once again a marked improvement on previous efforts, and strengthened their position within a growing fanbase. Owing to widespread bootlegging and the band’s burgeoning popularity, Earache Records released the original recordings of Abominations Of Desolation in 1991. For 1993’s Covenant, released through Giant in the USA, Flemming Rasmussen was drafted in to produce, and their rising profile was cemented by a US tour supporting Black Sabbath and Motörhead. 1994 saw the replacement of Brunelle by Erik Rutan (ex-Ripping Corpse). His arrival seemed to revitalize Morbid Angel and 1995’s Domination was a much more varied selection. While still undoubtedly death metal, songs such as ‘Dawn Of The Angry’ and ‘Dreaming’ touched on both classical and industrial traditions to expand the band’s sound.

After appearing on the live Entangled In Chaos, Vincent left in June 1996 to pursue a solo career, in addition to working with Genitorturers. His departure (along with Rutan) seemed to have had little effect on Morbid Angel’s sound, with new bass player/vocalist Steve Tucker slotting into the line-up alongside Azagthoth and Sandoval on subsequent albums such as Formulas Fatal To The Flesh (1997) and Gateways To Annihilation (2000). Guitarist Erik Rutan returned to the line-up on the latter but had departed again before the release of 2003’s Heretic. Jared Anderson (b. 1976, USA, d. 14 October 2006) had stood in for Tucker between albums, before the latter left for good in 2004. David Vincent returned as a temporary replacement.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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