Released: 2015, Century Media
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Was there anybody really clamoring for a Morgoth reunion? Bueller…? In any case, UNGOD is the recently minted comeback album from the old school German death troupe, but UNNECESSARY or UNINTERESTING would’ve been more appropriate titles for this dud.
FACT: Back in the day, Morgoth were C-list celebrities at best. CURSED was aigh’t, ODIUM was a little better received, but even at their peak they were pretty a pretty rudimentary death metal outfit. Then they made an alternative album and everybody freaked out and they broke up (I think Metal Maniacs gave it a decent review). But nostalgia sells concert tickets these days, so why not a reunion?
I’ll admit it, I got a bit excited at the GOD IS EVIL single that was released last year. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it got me optimistic about what a full length Morgoth album could sound like in this day and age. Then they sacked vocalist Marc Grewe and replaced him with Disbelief’s Karsten Jäger. So they’re now basically the death metal equivalent of Skid Row and Tony Harnell. But that’s fine; bands go through lineup changes all the time, that’ll have no impact on the quality of a reunion album where the most recognizable feature has been replaced by a relative unknown, right? Well, the vocals are the least problematic part of UNGOD, falling well behind the 11 tracks of recycled riffs and stale songwriting.
These riffs are so tired (HOW TIRED ARE THEY?), they make Bolt Thrower sound like Dream Friggin’ Theater - but at least Bolt Thrower has passion behind those riffs. Granted, Morgoth was never the most prolific band in their heyday, but I dare say that UNGOD is a creative step backwards. Considering that their last creative step was in 1996, that’s saying something. It’s not like it's totally horrible, but if UNGOD didn’t have the Morgoth logo slapped on the cover, nobody would give a shit. It’s generic, forgettable old school death metal - which is almost worse than being totally horrible. The title track and a re-recorded “God is Evil” offer fleeting moments of inspiration, but the rest of it blurs together with derivative, mid-tempo jaunts that don’t go anywhere.
Pair any of these new tracks against “Pits of Utumno”, “The Art of Sinking”, or even “Last Laugh” for Chrissakes, and it’s readily apparent; kinda sorta the same, but not nearly as inspired or confident. And if you can’t muster at least a parallel level of confidence or inspiration almost 20 years later, what’s the point?
What is the point, indeed? With so many death metal bands (new school and old school, alike) that are really doing amazing things within the genre and desperately vying for your attention, why waste your time (or your cash) on a nostalgia act with nothing substantive to offer? The answer is, you don’t.