(Not long ago we posted Wil Cifer’s review of the new Morbid Angel album, which will be released on December 1st, and now we present his interview with Steve Tucker.)
With Morbid Angel’s new album Kingdoms Disdained continuing to grow on me, I am beginning to feel it’s their best work since Domination. So I jumped at the chance to talk to bassist/vocalist Steve Tucker and ask about what played into this return to their more vicious sound and what factors in the world today influenced the album’s thematic lyrical tone. Here is what was said.
Not only does the new album have big sound, but it’s very dense, sonically closer to Blessed Are the Sick. What did you guys do differently in the studio this time around ?
We worked with Erik Rutan. Erik just delivered a lot of very real sounds. It’s a bit old school but with high quality. The older stuff like Blessed“ had that live feel, which is what we got here.
Scott Fuller seems to have a more powerful style of playing than Tim’s. What has it been like working with him — what sets him apart from other drummers ?
Scotty is great. He has years of playing of drums under his belt even though he is young. As a drummer he is very well-developed. We have a good dialogue talking about different kinds of beats. He understands what we need. The best thing is he is capable of anything, yet doesn’t insist on over-playing. He serves the song and can play in the pocket or flashy. It’s a hard combination to find. Scotty is technically sound and knows when to back off.
Was Dan involved in the making of the new album?
Not so much. It was just the three of us. The way we did for Formulas and Heretic. The line of communication was shor,t so there was never any misunderstanding. I felt like anyone else it would have been undue work. It would be unnecessary stress in the equation.
Vocally your best work. Harsh vocals can take on uniform stereotypes but there is a lot of emotional nuance in this performance. What do you attribute that to ?
I think it’s working with Erik. He is somebody who I trust. If you have seen any of his behind-the-scenes videos, then you know that when he feels the need to give his opinion he doesn’t pull punches. It allows everyone to perform up. I think the topic is so deep and dark at the end of the wick that passion was called for.
Which leads right into my next question. The lyrical theme of the old gods awakening to find the world in its current state has a more confrontational feel and less of escapism when this is given a more occult perspective. Is this the mood you meant to capture, and how did this theme come about?
That is absolutely what it felt like was happening. This is something we have always talked about, Sumerian gods and mythology. To us it seemed like it has come to a head. These prophecies being fulfilled. Civilizations across the planet from different time frames come together now. What was once hypothetical is now more realistic, this idea of chaotic order. The whole earth is heaving with volcanoes and tidal waves. There is serendipity to the things we speak about. This sickens the gods.
Things like mass shootings becoming so frequent must fall into that.
That would be one of the things. Bred off of an outsider mentality. Society builds the molds. It becomes a spiritual thing. It affects their souls and psyche’s ability to see right and wrong.
How can people be shocked with all the negativity. Elections all across the world shifted in the more conservative direction. For the governments, in the Middle East this means Islam. In the United States it falls back to Christianity. In England the more conservative move is Brexit wanting to break away from the United Nations. When things are forced upon you, when you force change, people snap.
The song “Righteous Voice” is about how people never really see the truth. They see what is righteous. These people doing mass shootings have the righteous voice in their head. So all these individual rights are based on what is going on their life. So 8 billion individuals wanting this, it’s ridiculous.
The Earth was never meant to sustain that many people. These people want rights and are willing to die for what seems right. It affects the planet. Being more that disruptive and more negative. The upheaval is that there is getting to be more natural disasters coming with more force. The hurricane this fall was more violent. Some say it’s the greenhouse effect, but it could be the overall hatred and selfishness of people. The average person that works in a high-rise would mock that. Well, I mock what they do, the 9 to 5. Why live under someone’s thumb like that?
In his marketing PR for Kiss, Gene Simmons said that Kiss was not any one person but a bigger concept. On your new album you can hear the bigger concept of Morbid Angel, you can hear more of the classic Morbid Angel signatures. Was that part of the mission statement when you guys were in the writing process of these songs ?
Honestly, the chemistry of Trey and myself creates a pretty gluttonous monster of music. Morbid has had a few different entities. They had their own chemistry and vibe prior to when I came along. Then when I came on board we did some albums that were dark and mean. David came back with a different vibe.
What I want to do musically, my drive and goal, has not changed. It’s not different from 15 or 10 years ago. It is not that I rely on the same ideas. I have grown, have been playing more guitar and becoming a better musician. What I want out of the music is not different than when I was 17. I want people to head bang, throw horns, yell, and get out the hatred and aggression. Trey and I might follow a similar spiritual path, so that also creates a unity .
What can fans expect going forward from you guys live?
They can expect to see Morbid Angel and hear songs from all different times. We are changing the songs a lot, not playing the same exact set. Not sticking to the same songs. Trey said to me, “Come on dude, I love these songs, I don’t want to get bored playing them.” Some songs are coming back with a renewed excitement. Morbid Angel has some big songs, but we are going to play a lot more of the catalogue. There are a few that haven’t been played as much. We want to pull those out. We want you to be able to see us twice in the same year and not get the same set.
How has the current state of tensions in the world affected you guys touring?
Now everything is scrutinized. There was an issue with passports and it took six months to get things done ‘cus of a mistake. Everything is scrutinized, there is a lot of shit going on. In Poland Behemoth got in trouble for representing the Polish flag in some way. There have been a couple bands that have gone to Russia and been arrested. Extreme views clash with the uptight views. This tension is a good thing for us as people turn to metal for relief .
Yeah I mean death metal came about under George Bush senior.
Every one felt oppressed, we have been at war for thirty years. There is now more more diversity, more takes on metal that didn’t exist then. Now people are looking for controlled aggression. Metal has been an outlet for that.
Funny you brought that up as my next question was going to be…How do you feel about where heavy metal as a whole is heading in 2017?
It’s great, a lot of great diversity. One good thing the internet has done is made a generation of musicians that are phenomenal. They are learning arpeggios online, it’s amazing. I was listening to XM Radio Liquid Metal and hear this band Kyng. They kick ass, good to hear a band that is just heavy metal and not much different than Dio. Then on the rawer side there are great bands like Battlecross and Goatwhore ,
Haha, well Goatwhore is the band that is duking it out with you guys on my iPod for death metal album of the year.
Thanks man, it means a lot coming from you. When I finally got a chance to sit down and listen to our new album I was like, holy shit, it takes you on a journey
What are your plans for 2018?
Going back out, a lot of touring, States in the early spring, and now that we got everything worked out, the rest of the world in the summer.
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