Morgoth

Cursed

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Following a couple of quickly recorded but well-crafted (and well-received) EPs to start off their career, German death metal favorites Morgoth finally got the chance to record a full-length album in 1991's Cursed. Now expanded to a quintet, they entered Dortmund's famed Woodhouse Studios with longtime producer Dirk Draeger and cut nine new tracks, then shipped the master tapes to Los Angeles, California, for additional mixing by death metal authority Randy Burns. The resulting Cursed showed a steady stylistic progression from the band's early work, which, from its original impetus as Kreator-styled Teutonic post-thrash, had now become incontestably death metal. Both a blessing and a curse, this realization confirmed Morgoth's belonging within the new generation of metal talent, yet sacrificed some of the distinctive sonic traits that made them recognizably European in evolution (not just another Floridian death metal act). To wit, the dynamic diversity and melodic asides more prevalent in the European school only cropped up on occasion, lending an almost death/doom drag to winning tracks like "Isolated" and "Sold Baptism." Elsewhere, Morgoth seemed to be emulating Americans Obituary in an attempt to fit in, what with most new offerings (even standouts like "Body Count" and "Unreal Imagination") boasting greater complexity in their arrangements, lower guitar tunings for that bowl-rumbling death-effect, and deeper-pitched growls from vocalist Marc Grewe. But it's the act of book-ending Cursed with incomplete-feeling instrumentals (the intro/title track and repetitive closer "Darkness") that do the most damage to this otherwise very accomplished, if unspectacular, example of early-'90s death metal.

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