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Morgoth – Ungod

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Well folks, it’s 2015 and I’m happy to say, Morgoth have returned! After years of inactivity from the late 90’s and throughout the first decade of the new millennium, the legendary German band reformed in 2011, with original throat wrecker Marc Grewe on vocals, replaced in late 2014 by Karsten Jäger, from the band Disbelief. Harry Busse (guitar), Sotirios Kelekidis (bass), Marc Reign (drums), and Sebastian Swart (guitar) round out this veteran demolition crew. It would be easy to feel a sense of trepidation concering their new release, Ungod, available now on Century Media Records. After all, their last album, 1996’s Feel Sorry For The Fanatic, was definitely not their strongest work. Allow me to put your concerns to rest – Ungod is an absolute joy to listen to, I dare say a masterpiece of old school death metal, and an undeniably stellar return to form. Production is full and clear as a bell, not too dissimilar from 1993’s Odium, but with a more focused guitar tone, and an overall more satisfying mix. While I personally feel Odium had some excellent moments and I played it to death when it was released, I’ve always felt that 1991’s Cursed was their best effort, an excellent album to be sure. And you know what? I actually believe that Ungod exceeds the genius of that iconic osdm masterwork. Marc Reign’s command of the kit is creative, powerful an extremely engaging, a pleasure to headbang to and just plain exciting. The guitar riffs are top notch – dark, at times moody and even atmospheric, and always immensely catchy. The riffing mixes half-step, tritone and chromatic type chord progressions, rarely treading into melodic territory, but that’s a good thing. It recalls the best riffing found on Cursed, and improved upon it, if you can believe it. Morgoth have effectively rediscovered and distilled the finest elements of their sound, then wrote and recorded a top tier album with that energy in mind. And like myself, if you were blown away by Marc Grewe’s incredible, super human delivery on Odium and fear that new guy Karsten Jäger may not be up to the job, I can say with complete confidence that not only does he turn in a truly inspired performance, his low/mid range roar is a perfect fit for Morgoth, and I’m completely satisfied Morgoth got the right man for the job. My ONLY complaint with Ungod is that I wish the vocals were actually a tad louder in the mix – they’re that good. Every song (mostly mid and upper-mid tempo affairs, with some slower, heavier moments mixed in) gets my attention, and there truly doesn’t appear to be any filler material here. House Of Blood, Snakestate, Black Enemy, Traitor, and the instrumental title track put on strong showings, but honestly the whole damn record just kills. I’ll be spinning this one for years to come, and so will you, as it’s sure to become a modern classic amongst fans who still revere the old glory days of death metal. Bottom line, Ungod is a thing of beauty for any fan of old school death metal, from a band many long ago wrote off as being well past their finest hour. Buy this album and crank it! (D.L. Beaven)