The 80’s were the golden age of metal. During that period and among all the great bands that stood out, there were bands that released incredible albums but never gained the attention they so much deserved. Morbid Saint it one of those bands and their rage inducing thrash is still shining in their underground classic debut album “Spectrum Of Death”. An album that is considered by many to be among the best thrash metal albums.
Now, 25+ years after its first release, they rereleased it via Century Media and we had the chance to chat with them about it. We also talked about their history, their future plans and their shows. What is evident throughout this interview is their humility. As they say it, they were just a bunch of kids that loved to get together, jam and make noise. They are no longer kids, but their love for making noise is still there.
Rock Overdose: Hello guys. I hope everything is ok. There was a special reissue of your classic album, “Spectrum Of Death” released on the 11th of March. I’ve seen that it is released in various formats. Tell us about it and how did you come to this decision. Is it a reissue with lots of photos and various lesser known trivia or did you also do a remix or a re-mastering?
Morbid Saint: When we found out that Century Media was interested in rereleasing “Spectrum of Death”, we were very excited to have an opportunity to work with the best metal label in the world. We knew they would take an absolutely professional approach in putting together a complete package that would represent Morbid Saint in the proper manner. For the most part, they remastered “Destruction System”, “The Black Demo” and the “Lock Up Your Children” demo, leaving “Spectrum of Death” mostly untouched. Included are previously unreleased pictures, fliers and an extensive in depth interview with original and founding member, guitarist Jay Visser.
Rock Overdose: You resurfaced at around 2010. What was it that sparked your interest again? I believe it was to give as many shows as you can, but ever since then, you released a compilation, a live album, a reissue of “Destruction Systems” and now the reissue of “Spectrum Of Death”. I am pretty sure you are enjoying this.
Morbid Saint: In 2010 we were contacted by Relapse Records in regards to releasing “Spectrum of Death”, at which time we agreed to them releasing “Spectrum of Death” on Lp. Around the same time we were getting numerous messages from people around the world that were interested in seeing Morbid Saint live. At the time of the Relapse deal, we decided to record 4 old songs that had never been recorded or released before; those songs were Dying Day, Lifesblood, Death Before Dawn, and the first song ever written by Morbid Saint, Thrashaholic. When we were playing and writing these songs in the 1980’s, we never imagined we would still be talking about them and us 25+ years later. It truly is an honor to be able to play shows all over the world and meet the incredible people that continue to support what we do.
Rock Overdose: The story goes that you were never satisfied with the production you did for “Destruction Systems” back in 1992. It was also your last album. What happened during that period? Was this the reason you reissued “Destruction Systems” last year? By the way, the album is great. I love the sound of the drums in the first release, being higher than the guitars and the voice is as aggressive as it should be. I think we can call it a cult classic.
Morbid Saint: We never finished it. What has been released is a quick rough mix from the studio for us to listen to, so when we returned to finish it we could make any changes or do over any tracks that we weren’t happy with. That time never happened, we were over budget, and Avanzada Metallica (our label at the time who already paid for most of the studio time), was going through some financial hardships and couldn’t help us. We couldn’t afford to finish it, so we recorded “The Black Demo” to try to make enough money to finish it. By the time we gathered enough money and returned to the Studio, it was out of business and all assets had been seized by the bank including all the track tapes for both “Spectrum of Death” and “Destruction System”, along with the master tapes for “Spectrum of Death”.
Rock Overdose: Then, in 1994 you called it quits and disbanded. Did you lose your interest in writing new music and playing shows or was it because of the general loss of interest in metal during the period where grunge music was on the rise? Or maybe life itself got in the way.
Morbid Saint: Life definitely intervened, along with declining shows and interest in Morbid Saint, our shows became smaller and fewer, some of us were already starting families or careers and we were growing up. We had done quite a bit more than any of us ever expected, we never tried to write songs a specific way, or do things because this band was doing this or that, we were just a bunch of kids enjoying what we were doing, having fun, hanging out, making noise. It was time to move on.
Rock Overdose: There is a lot of talk about the importance and excellence of “Spectrum Of Death”. Many are claiming that it is among the best thrash metal albums ever recorded. When was it that you first realized that there are tons of people who absolutely adore “Spectrum Of Death”? I have a feeling that during the years you were active around 1990, you probably didn’t know that you had created a masterpiece.
Morbid Saint: No, it was pretty much a shock to us that there were so many people contacting us and saying so many good things about “Spectrum of Death”, it was probably around 2010-2011. When we first recorded it, we couldn’t even give it away, now people have been getting outrageous amounts of money for it. We never really thought too much about anything we did, we just were having fun playing shows, writing, recording and just jamming together. We never expected anything like this.
Rock Overdose: I am certain this question is being asked in every interview you give. There is a story going around that you were the band that opened for Death, during their tours in the east US, though you opened for them for a number of shows and not every show. How did this story come to be?
Morbid Saint: I think we are associated with Death because of Eric Greif who was managing both us and Death for a brief time. We did several shows with them, but never toured with them.
Rock Overdose: You are a live band and you have a good reputation about your shows. Also, your fans seem to be freaking out at your concerts. Are there going to be any shows or a tour? Are you going to play at any summer festivals?
Morbid Saint: We are always willing to play shows or festivals whenever the opportunity arises, but at the current time we have no tours or festivals planned. And yes, we typically have a very good reception from our fans at shows, things have gotten pretty crazy at a lot of our shows. It’s nice to play festivals or shows where we don’t headline so we can, after our set, go mingle with people in the crowd and have a few beers or whatever and have a chance to meet and thank the awesome people that support us.
Rock Overdose: Would you say that the reissues of “Spectrum Of Death” and “Destruction Systems” allowed you to close this chapter so now you can move on to something new? Maybe even record a new album? And if you have written new songs, what would you say your sound is like? What could we expect?
Morbid Saint: Yes, I think so. The current lineup is different than the one when we recorded those albums, so the influence is going to be different, along with 25 years of different musical influences. But to explain what our sound would be like, my best guess is that it would sound like a bunch of guys jamming and having fun doing what we are doing. We currently have the music written for several new Morbid Saint songs.
Rock Overdose: Guys, thank you so much for this interview. Maybe we’ll see you again for a couple of shows in Greece. I think you played in Athens in 2013, with a number of other Greek bands and everyone had a great time.
Morbid Saint: Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview. Yes, hopefully we do have a chance to return to Greece. Athens was one of our best shows on the Europe tour, the time we spent there was just incredible from the food, the sights, the beer, the people we met, the great bands we played with, and the new friends we made, we would love to return!!
For Rock Overdose