Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel: Angry Gods and a Disgusting World

Now reunited with Morbid Angel, Steve Tucker walks us through the grim wastelands of Kingdoms Disdained.

Heralding from the earliest ages of death metal, Florida-based legends Morbid Angel formed in 1983 and have been one of the definitive forces of death metal over the last thirty-five years. Morbid Angel have unleashed upon us their latest onslaught, Kingdoms Disdained, which is a no-holds-barred onslaught marking the band’s return to classic form. In the aftermath of this album that marked the return of former frontman Steve Tucker, Metal As Fuck hears from the man himself what Kingdoms Disdained is all about. Prepare for chemistries, angry gods, and the power of history.

Kingdoms Disdained was released in December 2017, and was the first Morbid Angel album since 2003 to feature Steve Tucker, who had been the band’s vocalist and bassist for three albums from 1998-2003, and re-joined Morbid Angel in 2015.  How have you found reuniting with and writing for Morbid Angel again? “I found it shockingly uneventful [laughs] overwhelmingly normal. I mean, its honestly like I went away for a week, took a vacation, came back and nothing seems odd to me whatsoever … I expected it to be much more difficult than it was. It was just such a natural thing, which was unexpected a bit. From the beginning, everything went much smoother than I thought it would.”

Is Kingdoms Disdained a return to the 1998-2003-era sound? Or, is it a new direction for Morbid Angel? “I think its more of a return, with a progression on what we were doing, you know we definitely expanded on writing processes that we toyed with in the past, as well as I think …when you get people together, there’s chemistry…myself and Trey [Azagthoth, guitarist]…when we’re writing music together there’s a certain chemistry there that I think is consistent throughout all of the albums that we’ve done together. It’s just a chemical makeup that you really can’t explain. Somehow you just put compound A and B together, and end up with what you have.”

How do you feel that this album has built on your last albums with Morbid Angel? “I’d say the biggest difference is somehow … it all seemed hypothetical in the past, you know, when I was writing lyrics, when I was tapping into the … Sumerian mythology and we were talking about this idea of gods and the earth rising up and things like that its things we’ve tapped into before, you know, it always seemed hypothetical, and somehow, I don’t even know how this happened, but this album seemed to now resonate on a social level…the happenings of the world…somehow all of this, which at one point was like mythology, now seemed to resonate as almost like a guideline, seems to coexist with a society that’s actually lost its mind [laughs] its just timely – the state of the world and the state of our creative process somehow they came together at the same time.”

Kingdoms Disdained depicts the reawakening of ancient gods…“Yeah and also not just the idea of ‘reawakening gods’ but the idea that the earth itself is sort of reawakening, as a god. That’s what the whole album cover is about, this beast rising, turning from soil to a beast, you know. Without a doubt, when I was writing, everything that was sort of touching on seemed to me that the solution for every single thing that I touched on was the same thing, that this world is disgusting [laughs] I mean people and the way they claim the land to be their own, they way people make you pay for water…something that we all need to survive, just so many things attached to the land that you supposedly ‘purchase’ , you know I mean its like everyone is sort of being stomped on and really, honestly, if you step back and look at the overall way the entire world is being controlled by very few people, very small groups of people literally control just billions of people on the planet, its really, really disgusting … For me, writing a song, writing from ‘how would a god see this?’, this whole idea of gods would be disgusted because essentially the people who are controlling things, they replace the god. They come in and now they replace the god, the gods gave this planet to live on, like everything you need, and what do people do? They make laws saying ‘you can’t have this, you can’t have that’ and ‘you have to pay for this’ because I got here first, and they teach you things like nationalism, teach you things like religion, which is all about people being superior to other people…I think, as a god you’re really just going to say its time to wipe clean the chalkboard and start over. And that’s really an underlying concept on the album.”

Why the Sumerian gods in particular? “It’s just an example … a good point to go from. Sumerian people were an extremely complex, diverse civilisation. We were taught in schools that we are the only intelligent civilisation to ever exist and it went from, you know, ‘cave men’ to us and that’s the only existence there’s ever been … that’s not true [laughs]. This earth is actually millions of years old and they keep discovering more and more proof of ancient civilisations, ancient societies … so that’s where the Sumerians come in. This is something that at one point was considered ‘mythology’, like Greek mythology or something, now it’s proven to be really, legitimate people who were historical beings. I mean, unfortunately people in power, people who have the power have the ability to change history, make history be whatever they want it to be … by making it illegal to talk about it, making a taboo, they erase the historical value of what … things were …now your average person doesn’t really know what these amazing things were there for … they’re there, they’re an anomaly to the world, but only because somebody has at some point erased history, they erased what that was about, I’m sure for their own gain.”

Do you think the separation of people from the earth that sustains them has created these problems? “Yes I absolutely do, I think that absolutely people have a relationship to the planet, its natural, this is … everything that we need, the water… we need water… if we don’t have water we don’t survive… air … if we don’t have air, we don’t survive … vegetation … if we don’t have some source of food, vegetation, animals, things like that, we don’t survive. I think that … science was the one to coin the phrase, to call it an eco-system, and that’s what it is. Self feeding, self serving and I definitely think that we’re part of that, and I definitely think that … when you get so many people on the planet, like we have, the separation only gets larger. I think that at one point when there were less people per square mile and people didn’t move as fast… when the world moved slower people were much more at one with the world around them. People still struggled … every single time had its difficulties but it seems to me as we separate further from nature and live in more and more concrete, it seems like the earth itself starts to become more begrudged and unstable. There’s a system there, its alive … we’re alive … and I think one affects the other for sure.”

Kingdoms Disdained is out now via Silver Linings Music.