HistoryThe band was initially formed in 1985 by Rüdiger Hennecke and Carsten Otterbach as Exterminator before undergoing several name changes to come up with Morgoth in 1988. The Morgoth monicker meant the other German Morgoth would have to change its name to Fleshcrawl. The band was not only influenced by Tolkien’s tales, but had an affinity to Death to start.
The band issued a demo called Pits Of Utumno. One of the first bands on the fledgling Century Media label Morgoth quickly issued two impressive EPs, The Eternal Fall and Resurrection Absurd. These were essentially the band’s demo or demo songs. The mixture of death metal, brutal vocals and eye-catching artwork combined with the band’s fortunate timing to soon propel Morgoth to the underground forefront. The band supported Pestilence and Autopsy. The EPs were supported through a tour with Obituary and Demolition Hammer in the autumn of 1990. A show at Poland’s Metal Mania Festival was aborted as the group’s car broke down en route. A US and Canadian tour with Kreator and Biohazard was also organized. The group never made it to the Montreal show at Café Campus. Randy Burns recorded Cursed, through a recommendation from Mille of Kreator, an album, which began to showcase gothic influences as well as slower music. The group toured with Unleashed and Tiamat. Cursed sold over 100,000 copies and bankrolled Century Media.
Grewe, who was only on vocals now and replaced on bass by the seventeen-year old Sebastian, participated on an album for Comecon and sang for Power Of Expression after Odium. The band had disintegrated due to personal differences, but reformed soon. Marc had taken vocal lessons to improve or change his vocals. He was also an employee over at Century Media. The third album was dark, industrial and sombre and not what Morgoth had been up until then. The group toured with Die Krupps and Richthofen before it disbanded in 1998. Despair’s Markus Freiwald was a stand-in drummer for two weeks’ worth of shows as Hennecke had suffered the death of his father just prior to the tour. The members sold their equipment.
The label issued a compilation of the band’s work in 2005. It was called 1987 - 1997: The Best Of Morgoth. The group returned in 2010. The Germans had decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the Cursed album by playing several shows in 2011. The song list would be comprised of songs from Cursed album, the Resurrection Absurd and The Eternal Fall EPs. The band's line-up for these shows will feature Marc Grewe (vocals), Harry Busse and Sebastian Swart (guitars) and Thilo Mellies (bass). A drummer was being sought. Cursed To Live appeared in 2012. It was recorded at Way Of Darkness Festival on October 7th, 2011. The band had also played at Wacken in that year. The tracks were mixed at Unisound Studio in Sweden with Dan Swanö. Sotiros Kelekides and Marc Reign were part of the line-up. Marc Grewe was guesting on the Megascavenger album from Sweden, which also featured Dan Swanö. A 2014 single was released and called God Is Evil. Swart was now on guitar. Action Jackson’s Thilo Mellies was on bass. It was brutally heavy and showcased how the strictly part-time band is still able to deliver. Morgoth and singer Marc Grewe parted ways in late 2014, but the band was already working with singer Karsten "Jagger" Jäger (Disbelief) for its next album. The album would be called Ungod and is due in the spring of 2015 through Century Media Records. Incantation kicked off a run of European dates in mid-2016 with Morgoth, Darkrise, Methedras and Omophagia, which saw the band giving shows in mainland Europe, the UK and Russia that April. The band announced that its show at the Chronical Moshers Open Air on June 8th 2018 would be its last for a while as it returned to hibernation. Morgoth had not been able to generate any momentum.
Carsten Otterbach had become a band manager for the likes of Iced Earth and Dimmu Borgir. He also managed Morgoth. Hennecke worked on the cable TV show Metalla. Original guitarist and owner of Direct Management Carsten Otterbach died due to multiple sclerosis in late 2018. He was 48. The band officially threw in the towel in late 2020. The band had been inactive.
MORGOTH - THE BEST OF MORGOTH 1987 - 1997 - CENTURY MEDIA
Morgoth was one of the biggest lost opportunities of the early '90s death metal movement. The band had the power, musicianship, vocal and image to become a major force in the sub-genre. Instead, the Germans crashed headfirst into wimpdom and instead of selling heaps of records went down metal history as of the worst instances of sell-out ever.
It had all started well. The band had issued two irreproachable EPs on the upstart Century Media Records and attracted praise for its talented compositions, deep growls which would have given Obituary a run for its money and a generally favourable image. The arrival of the band's first full-length Cursed in 1991 had introduced some gothic imagery and a slower pace, but the originality and aura surrounding the band had the support of both the fans and the media. All was not well in metal paradise though. The band was losing interest in metal, the members would often ludicrously observe in media interviews that they had come before Death - something which is indirectly refuted by the liner notes of this disc - and Century Media was starting to pay attention to the rest of its growing roster. It does bear mention that the label we know today as Century Media survived and prospered simply because Morgoth was selling by the bucket load in those days. The debt of gratitude went both way, however; Century Media's boss had a personal relationship with writers at Germany's Rock Hard magazine which afforded the band and label unsurpassed support. Still, no other band on the label was shifting as many units as Morgoth.
Despite the success Morgoth moved away first from death metal and eventually from heavy music and by 1996's Feel Sorry For The Fanatic it was the fanatics who were feeling sorry for the band. The band existed in rare media interviews, but everyone had moved on. The double-disc, The Best Of Morgoth, chronicles the band's development even as it mostly demonstrates that what metal fans really need is to go out and obtain the Resurrection Absurd and Eternal Fall MCDs (although appropriately most of the discs are here) and the Cursed full-length. Not that this release does not serve any other useful purpose. Disc two features the band's Pits Of Utumno demo, a couple of rare songs and the band's videos. - Ali "The Metallian"