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Interviews : “I’m not trying to change who I am because I’m in Morbid Angel” – An Interview With Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel)

By on March 15, 2018

Morbid Angel – Steve Tucker

By many measures, Morbid Angel guitarist Trey Azagthoth is the greatest living extreme metal string-slinger, so it was not without degrees of disappointment that the recently released Kingdoms Disdained (’17) fell short of expectations to the ears of the writer. Steve Tucker, thrice returned vocalist and bassist to the Morbid Angel fold, is the band’s primary spokesperson due to Azagthoth’s apparent reluctance to deal with indie-journo types… so it was to Tucker that I shared my view that the album didn’t hit the (very high) standard that the epic Formulas Fatal to the Flesh (’98) manage to reach, particularly after the hysterical response to the universally panned, Illud Divinum Insanus (’11).

It’s disappointing to hear that. We worked with Erik Rutan and Erik’s been a part of the Morbid Angel camp for probably 25 or 30 years… something like that, and we wanted it to be gritty. There were no corners cut whatsoever during the production. As far as the final mix, I think that’s always something that one person may prefer something different than another person, especially these days with the scooped sound that most modern bands have. We actually went for much more of what the Marshall amps actually sound like.”

Like a champion, Tucker gracefully accepts my feedback, so I went further to isolate the sound of the kick drums and elements of the percussion as the principal offender in the mix.

Kick drums are one of those things where I wanted to add depth. I always want the kick drums to have some depth and it’s a fine line… on Formulas you have- there’s about 80%- 100% natural kick and then a little bit of trigger on top, just to fill in the blanks and we went with that format this time. There’s more of an acoustic drum sound than you’ve heard on a Morbid Angel record in a while. But I know exactly what you’re saying about kick drums, just even a little tweak of an EQ can turn something from ‘clicky’ into smooth or whatever and yes, it’s one of those things. When I listen to the mixes, I feel like, ‘Okay man, we have a finished album.’ It disappoints me of course that someone feels this or that could be better, but I think that’s always the case”

Feeling just a little bashful, I offered an apology that I felt how I do about the end result heard across the album. Talking to Tucker, one can sense the many hours of work and dedication that has been spent getting the album to where its composers wanted it to be. I mentioned that the album did make my top 10 of 2017… rather an accomplishment given that there is to actually like about the album; the cadence of Tucker’s vocal has never been better and the epic Van Halen-isms of Azagthoth’s superb lead breaks.

Trainspotters may also recognise that Tucker fronts and plays guitar in Warfather, a vicious affair in the vein of the Erik Rutan monster, Hate Eternal. Many of the cuts across Kingdoms Disdained flow in a similar manner to the cuts across The Grey Eminence (Warfather- ’16).

Yes, I wrote a few of the songs… it’s all just the same element and I think that the one thing about Trey and myself, the relationship between us, I trust that dude a hundred percent. I trust that dude to write songs that I’m going to enjoy (writing the) lyrics to. I believe he fully trusts me to do my end after he writes something. So, with that, it allows me space to just be naturally who I am. I’m not trying to change who I am because I’m in Morbid Angel. I think I’m in Morbid Angel because of who I am, to be honest.”

Following the inimitable David Vincent (twice!) would immolate most, but not Tucker. Those sentiments he shared bode very well for the future of Morbid Angel as the globes foremost example of death metal. Long may he and his companions in the band produce blistering examples of the genre regardless how an indie-journalist from the Sunshine Coast feels about the recent offering.

To listen to the full discussion with Steve Tucker, click here to listen Scars and Guitars podcast series.

Morbid Angel’s new album Kingdoms Disdained is available now through Silver Lining Music. Secure your copy through JB Hi-Fi, iTunes and all leading music outlets. Click here to start streaming. 


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith