Review Date: May 2020
Autobiographies by extreme Metal musicians are quite rare but as more and more ‘extreme’ bands age, we are seeing more of these types of autobiographies being published. David Vincent’s first book is, I believe, the first autobiography by an old-school Death Metal musician. A handful of thrashers have written one and Adam Darski from Behemoth wrote one, Fernando from Moonspell wrote one, but this is a first!
I AM MORBID is published by the good folks at Jawbone press and they also do a good job. It is a standard paperback, good quality paper, nicely designed and laid-out. Along for the ride is their practically in-house metal mogul, Joel McIver as the not–so-ghost writer. This 272 page book is a little on the short side, quite a bit of white space but it does come with about three dozen photos on glossy plates in the middle. An astrophysicist does the foreword (I’m not joking) and there is a solid discography as well. It is the complete package with an eye-catching cover maybe reminiscent of the infamous picture of Richard ‘Nightstalker’ Ramirez captured in court in 1984, flashing his pentagram tattoo on his hand.
I AM MORBID presents itself slightly differently than most autobiographies, it comes across as a bit of a, dare I say it, book on philosophy combined with your standard chronological autobiography. He avoids the conventional sex, drugs and rock and roll template although there are quite a few good stories of life on the road. He comes across as a private person, willing to share his philosophies quite freely, but short on details about his personal life.
Vincent claims that this is not your common rags to riches story, but it really is…the average kid growing up becomes a rock star of one of, if not the biggest Death Metal bands on the planet, the first to be signed to a major label, but anger issues and addictions lead him to a self-imposed exile working as a cab driver. He paints a brave picture like he planned the whole thing but it follows a pretty common pattern of rags to riches and back again.
Vincent is a deep thinker, maybe too much for his own good because at times he comes across as mildly arrogant and detached at the same time but I do not think that is his intent. From his words we learn he is confident enough to do follow his own left hand path and do things like an outlaw country project, despite what the Death Metal community might say or think. One aspect I liked is that he takes many early Morbid Angel songs and explains the lyrics of each and the sentiment behind each. That was a nice touch. So many autobiographies of musicians, don’t talk about music! HE also talk a bit about his gear and technique as well.
It took me a bit to wrap my head around I AM MORBID. Vincent is an intriguing character, no doubt and one full of contradictions…but aren’t we all? On page 236 he says, ‘There is so much music that I hear today where the vocals sound like a lawnmower.”, and then few pages later he says he is really open-minded and doesn’t want to sound like an old man who complains. He seems to have forgotten that the music HE made in the mid-80’s was considered extreme unlistenable garbage by many older people.
In the end he finishes strong with some brief thoughts on a variety of topics, religion, the environment, politics, and the general state of mankind. He is certainly not an optimist but most certainly a realist, which is pretty refreshing. He suggests that a virus could all wipe us out at a moment’s notice and that struck me as pretty prophetic as I read this book in self-imposed isolation during the global pandemic of 2020. I think anyone, whether they are a Morbid Angel fan or not, would easily enjoy this book because there is enough extra intelligence, thought and care put into it to make it stand out from the pack.