"Cursed to Live" is a live album release by German death metal act Morgoth. The album was released through Century Media Records in June 2012 and marks Morgoth´s comeback after they initially disbanded in 1998. "Cursed to Live" was recorded at the Way Of Darkness Festival, Lichtenfels, Germany on October the 7th 2011. The band reunited in 2010 and played sporadic gigs, but "Cursed to Live" is their first recording in 14 years. Germany didn´t produce as many high profile death metal acts in the early nineties as countries like USA and Sweden, but Morgoth were one of the few prolific acts from the country (Atrocity (early) were another act that deserve a mention). They released a couple of EPs and two highly acclaimed studio albums in "Cursed (1991)" and "Odium (1993)", but then turned towards a more alternative/industrial sound on "Feel Sorry for the Fanatic (1996)", which wasn´t received very well by neither fans nor critics...
...on "Cursed to Live" the band only concentrate on playing material from the two EPs, "Resurrection Absurd (1989)" and "The Eternal Fall (1990)", and from "Cursed (1991)" and "Odium (1993)". The much criticised "Feel Sorry for the Fanatic (1996)" is not represented by a single track. "Odium (1993)", which had already alienated some of the most hardcore old school death metal fans, is only represented by "Resistance" and "Under the Surface", so it´s safe to say that Morgoth went "back to the roots" on this release. Their most popular release "Cursed (1991)" is represented by no less than seven tracks. I´m sure most fans of the band are happy with the tracklist, but personally I could have wished for more tracks from "Odium (1993)", which to my ears is one of the best death metal albums out there. Still it´s hard to complain when we´re treated with one death metal classic after another. Tracks like "Body Count", "Exit to Temptation", "Sold Babtism" and "Burnt Identity" are old school death metal at it´s best.
The performance of the tracks is also flawless. Great energy and a really convincing vocal performance by Marc Grewe, who sounds a bit different from how he sounds on the studio releases, but no less powerful, aggressive and brutal. His interaction with the audience in his native tongue is perfectly measured and adds to the great energy of the recording. The whole thing is packed in a powerful and raw sound production where all instruments are audible in the mix.
It´s not often death metal live albums put a smile on my face. They are often true copies of the studio recordings but with poorer sound quality or in most cases lo-fi recordings that don´t do the music much justice. I´ve been left frustrated time and again. I´ve often had the thought that extreme metal live concerts in general work much better when you are actually present at the concert than it does on albums. It´s simply hard to capture the raw live energy and brutal sound of the performances on tape, but "Cursed to Live" are thankfully one of the few exceptions to that rule and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved. Welcome back!