Metal Redux: Morgoth – Cursed (1991)

Metal History by Steven

  • The Band – Morgoth (1985-1998, 2010 – 2018)
  • The Album – Cursed
  • Country of Origin – Germany
  • The Year – 1991
  • Lineup – Marc Grewe (Vocals), Harald Busse (Guitars), Carsten Otterbach (Guitars), Sebastian Swart (Bass), Rüdiger Hennecke (Drums)
  • Genre – Death Metal
  • Metallum Average – 2 Reviews at 83%

Other notable releases from 1991 for context – The Rack by Asphyx, Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious by Carcass, Like an Ever Flowing Stream by Dismember, Clandestine by Entombed, Blessed Are The Sick by Morbid Angel, Arise by Sepultura

Morgoth came to me through the late night Aussie music video show, Rage, on the ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation). Most Saturday nights, around 3am they would play maybe ½-an-hour to an-hour of metal; it was great. I would set up the family VHS on long-play-record, and let it run overnight. First thing in the morning, I would grab some brekkie, and fast forward through the crap, and then normally after the grunge segment (that was pain), it would be metal time.

The metal segment would normally start with some traditional heavy metal, like some Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, and just get heavier from there. We would get everything from Metallica, to Danzig to Napalm Death. And for us, given the internet didn’t exist, this was one of the only ways we could get access to metal.

Soon after the release of Cursed, Morgoth, via the track Isolated, made its way into the Rage rotation, and it had an instant impact.

This was my introduction to Morgoth – some intense headbanging, for sure!

What seemed to catch everyone’s attention was that Morgoth were the perfect amalgam of everything that was awesome with Metal at the time.  They had heaviness, their tone was killer, they sounded a bit like the Florida Death Metal scene (but also sort of Swedish), their groove was neck snapping, the vocals were arguably as heavy as Obituary, and they even went into a doomy type of Black Metal territory with atmosphere (with a folk / gothic undercurrent).

From Opportunity is Gone

We burn down what gives us the right
We amputate – we steal the light
Only money is what we trust
The end of all the life is coming – Fast!

Our hunger will give the ultimate impulse
Death for you and me
Our salvation – effect that will exhaust
Senseless mortality
Mindexpanding we see what we have done
Opportunity is gone

And Marc Grewe’s vocals … holy hell … just listen to the before-mentioned track and you will hear a death metal screaming masterclass.

Cursed was an elite release from the early 90s, with every single song being epic, and also working perfectly in its entirety, when listened to from start to finish.

An early photo. In 2018, sadly, founding member, Carsten Otterbach died

Marc Grewe has said that the region they grew up in, was full of lots of hills and dark woods, which made an impression on the band and their music. They were chasing atmosphere, and decided not to play fast, but rather slow things down to get a different sound. He has also said that for Cursed, the band rehearsed in an old slaughterhouse, and in the very next room, they would listen to the screams of dying sheep, which also helped inspire the brutal nature of the vocals.

From the track Suffer Life

Left in a dream alone
Where functions of death are done
Left in a grave of stone
Where functions of life are gone
Crawl to the abyss of souls
In darkness you will rest
The curtain of misery falls
Awaiting insensitive death

Suffer life – provocated genocide

On their sound, even though there was a familiarity when compared to other bands at the time (and across sub-genres), if you time stamp their album, it is an amazing release, which has no doubt influenced many others.

Listen to the closing track, Darkness, and to me, you can hear elements of Morbid Angel’s God of Emptiness , which was released 2 years later.

After Cursed, the band tweaked their sound and took it into a more industrial (almost prog) direction, with the 1993 album, Odium, which is an excellent release in itself, and contains some outstanding tracks (check out Under the Surface – one of the stand-outs)

Morgoth made a comeback in 2010 and released the album Ungod in 2015, which featured a new vocalist, Karsten Jäger, which I like quite a lot (but not quite at the heights of their early genius).

The Last Word

When Old School Metalheads make their lists for the best albums of the 1990s, Cursed by Morgoth is rightly nestled in among the greatest Death Metal albums from a time of the classics.  If you do not know this one, check out the list of albums released in the 1991, and listen to any three of the ‘big releases’.  Then listen to this album and you will see why it is rightly regarded as a Death Metal classic, and an album that should be re-discovered by new fans of Death Metal.

To listen to the music featured on Metal Redux on Spotify, check out the playlist Metal Redux from Noob Heavy, which is updated after each new article

About Steve - Abyss Abyss 10 Articles
I do the music for the band Aeons Abyss. I have been into Metal since the mid 80s, growing up in country Victoria, Australia. Some of my favourite bands include Morbid Angel, Slayer, Obituary, Bolt Thrower, King Diamond, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden. Over the past 3 years I have become a massive fan of underground metal, and for me, the scene is very much akin to the tape trading days when metal first started; now the tapes are Bandcamp, Spotify and Youtube, and social media is our tool to network with other underground metal fans from all over the world. A little about my band: Aeons Abyss formed in 2017 for a recording project commencing with music written in the early to mid nineties under the band name Cataclysm. We have two releases from 2019, our debut EP Pity Eloquence, and our LP, Impenitent. Our music is on all streaming platforms, and Bandcamp, where we also sell our merch direct to fans. We are currently working on our next release, a concept album, that will be released late 2020 / early 2021 (date TBC).

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