The last time we saw alphabetically-inclined Floridian metallers Morbid Angel 'round these parts was in '09. The thing is, if modern technology would get its arse into gear, we could see them every weekend vomiting gore into the stale pensioner air of the Northcote RSL.
"I mean, fuckin' Star Trek, man," starts bassist and vocalist David Vincent. "Everything that they've come up with thus far - like communicators, you know, scanners? - everything that was on Star Trek has come to fruition, except for teleportation. If I could just teleport there, I tell ya, it'd be a happy day. But that's just not case yet, so…"
…so, just to put the reality of seeing an under-funded international metal act like Morbid Angel into perspective for potentially apathetic Australian metal crowds - this is what goes on from A to B and back to A: "I mean, leaving my lovely home in sunny Tampa, Florida, we hit the West Coast and once you start going over the Pacific it's thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and more hours in the air. The last time we were in Australia? Total travel time from Melbourne to Tampa was thirty hours. It's ridiculous. You feel like you've been beaten to a pulp, you know, good grief. How many bottles of whiskey can you drink to sort of keep your sanity together from sitting in these airports and these planes?"
You see? They suffer self-induced alcoholism and probable gout to bring you huge riffs from abroad - and they're not getting any younger, you know.
"I'm very old," Dave concedes.
Seeing as Morbid Angel got started in '84 which, coincidentally, was the year of my birth, I'm not gonna argue with him. I was still fingerpainting with my own stool when Dave and other guys were punching together vintage death metal signpost, Altars Of Madness. I like Dave, because despite the fact he's at the head of Morbid bastard Angel, he just doesn't give a fuck. He'd even go and see Lady Gaga.
"Oh I'd probably go see her show, for sure. I'd probably go to that. I don't know that I'd wanna buy a ticket to it. I don't have any of her music on my iPod, but would I go see the show? Yeah, I don't know why not. It'd probably be very entertaining, whether I liked it or not."
The cool thing is that Dave's indifference towards pissy little metal cliques desperate to belong - "I don't go to a show just because it's a metal show and because I should be there" - also runs parallel with Morbid Angel's punishing ascent above and beyond the 'death' in their death metal until they are, as Dave touches on, a singularly indefinable extreme entity.
"I almost think that we've sort of grown beyond that. We like extreme music, and we have a lot of stuff that you could call 'death metal,' but you've gotta understand that when we first started there was no such thing as that," he shrugs. "We didn't have contemporaries that we were looking at trying to figure out what to do, we just kind of did our own thing - and it caught on."
Even though death metal's early genesis in 1980's Florida is often lumped into the one big basket of historical heaviosity, Dave's right: shit back then was a lot harder to define than Cannibal Corpse's Centuries Of Torment DVD is capable of fully articulating.
"There were a few bands that were playing, but they weren't doing anything like what we were doing. You know Chuck Schuldiner?"
"Death sounds nothing like Morbid Angel, and vice-versa. There wasn't so many bands looking at the next guy saying, 'What do we do next?' We've always looked internally and that's where we find inspiration. I'm trying to think of the bands that were doing stuff, but aside from Chuck… there was a few other, sort of like heavy metal bands, like Sabotage, and Nasty Savage, and then some bands that came later - obviously, Massacre. There certainly wasn't anybody doing what we were doing."
It's this dedication to self-made evolution that goes a long way to explaining why Morbid Angel's upcoming record, Illud Divinum Insanus (they're only up to 'I', that's fucked, at this rate we'll never get Nutting On Heaven's Whore) has taken so long to come to fruition. Dave's head sounds like it might erupt into a flock of doves when I mention this.
"Dude, listen, I'm waiting, too. I want nothing more than this to go out. I did get a piece of information today - our single was released today, and it went to #1 on Amazon within an hour. There was a number of factors in the way, not the least of which was Pete's (Pete Sandoval, drummer; axed his back bad) challenges. We got to a point where there was so much pressure, and you know what? Fuck it. We're not gonna feel any pressure, and we're gonna do this how we wanna do it, and that's that - and that's what we did."
And the results, they're going to mess with you.
"Trust me, when you hear the new record, you'll know… I don't know that it could be anymore honest. This is really diverse. It's the most extreme record that we've ever done, extreme even in the sense that it's extremely different from song to song. It's not hiding it 'til the last song on the record; the record opens that way."