By: Navjot Kaur Sobti
From Altars of Madness to Heretic, if one thing is clear, it’s that Floridian death metal godfathers Morbid Angel have kept and intend to keep the momentum going with years of consistent, crushing extreme metal outputs. Over 20 years since their conception via Trey Azagroth in 1984, and with a history of constant line-up chances analogous with the early Turkish empire, the band hit the studios in 2009, slating the release of their ninth studio album for late-2010 (by way of Seasons of Mist Records). Bringing the classic and new tunes to fans, the band was dead-set and ready to hit the road for a 2010 tour for the unnamed and up-and-coming release, but it was just yesterday that they announced that drummer Pedro 'Pete' Sandoval would be unable to play his percussive part, citing “back surgery” as the cause.
World Management, the band’s management, and Morbid Angel themselves confirmed “rumors…[to be] true,” explaining that “Pete has suffered for a long time with a deteriorating disc problem,” and that the excruciating “daily pain” made it necessary for him to partake the “laser back surgery” in the band’s hometown: Tampa, Florida. While the procedure has already been performed successfully and Sandoval is “doing well, he is “ currently in rehabilitation;” thus, it was in the band’s hands, whether to delay the tour, or to take the “show must go on” mentality in hand, and hit the road with a replacement. They chose the latter. So, who, you may ask, was their star-struck candidate? Tim Yeung, who you may know for his work with Divine Heresy, All that Remains, Nile, Hate Eternal, and Vital Remains.
While Yeung he will be filling in for Sandoval, the band reiterates that Sandoval “is part of [our] family and the band’s history and we all wish him well and a full recovery.” What’s more, he is by no means being pressured into a speedy recovery, as the band understands the his “type of injury, subsequent surgery, and rehab cannot be rushed, and it will take ample time for him to hopefully be back behind his drums again, and go out on tour with Morbid Angel.”
Speaking of band history, Trey Azagthoth spoke about the new record itself, explaining in a 2009 Revolver Magazine interview how the upcoming album maintains its ancient Morbid Angel roots, while still treading new ground sonically. The record will feature David Vincent on bass and vocals, marking his first appearance since 1995’s Domination. The album title itself is undetermined, but will begin with the letter “I,” sticking to the band’s tradition of releasing albums with alphabetical names. Despite such adherence to the “old-school” ways, Azagthoth did cite some of his “new influences,” namely “hardcore techno,” but not the “crap you hear at the clubs.” Recognizing that such experimentation may touch different headbangers, all whom share an ancient love for the old-school morbid Angel sound, in a different way, he also said that “when it’s ready, it’s going to be extreme and outside the box…hopefully, the songs will inspire people to look deeper inside themselves for ‘the stuff’ and to tap that potential that we as human beings have.”
Keeping fans locked on their familiar existential note, the band does not intend to keep us in complete suspense about the new record, having played one of the featured songs, “Nevermore,” at a number of shows they performed last year. To get your preview, check out a video of “Nevermore,” as performed live in Bogotá Colombia, by clicking here.