The Morrisound Experience - A Four Part Documentary
To be honest, we are probably more excited about the Morrisound footage than you guys. We’re coming up on 25 years since the release of Slowly We Rot, and it’s been one hell of a journey. We wanted to do something special to celebrate, and to sort-of recognize and pay tribute to the road that’s led to where we are today.
Morrisound Recording Studio is where it all started, and there is a long and tangled history between Obituary, Morrisound and the sub-genre of heavy metal that is known as death metal. We know that only the diehard metal fans will know how this puzzle fits together, so we’ll try to break it down for everyone:
Morrisound Recording is an audio recording facility in Temple Terrace, Florida, owned and operated by brothers Jim and Tom Morris; they opened their doors in 1981. The studio is given credit for empowering the heavy metal community in Florida, and for enabling the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and Sepultura to pave the way for death metal.
When asked why so many death metal bands have roots in Morrisound studios, Jim Morris (Co-Owner at Morrisound) says: “I think the biggest reason we got so involved in it (death metal) was that most places these guys would go to record…the studios, the engineers, they didn’t really care about that kind of music, they didn’t like it – so they didn’t do a good job of it. We tried to do a good job right from the gate, and that made us one of the only facilities in the world that was into it – that tried to do it, and that welcomed the bands.”
Jim Morris sells the studio short saying that they tried to do a good job from the gate. In addition to providing the perfect environment, the studio employed producer Scott Burns; Scott would go on to become the sort-of undisputed king of producing death metal music. He has worked with many famous death metal bands, and together they have produced some of the most genre-defining albums in death metal music history.
When asked about how he made a career out of producing death metal Scott says: “Well, I don’t know…I always liked metal, and I especially liked a lot of punk stuff, and stuff that was extreme. I just like the stuff that’s evil and rowdy…I just try to capture good performances on tape, and let them (the bands) play their music.”
We got our start in 1984 under the name Executioner, and released demos in 85, 86 and 87. The band changed its name to Obituary, and signed with Roadrunner Records shortly before releasing our first studio album Slowly We Rot in 1989.
The album was made at Morrisound studios, and was produced, recorded, mixed and engineered by Scott Burns. The response to Slowly We Rot was astonishing, with 250k copies sold in the US alone.
Obituary returned to Morrisound, and to producer Scott Burns in 1990 to record their second offering Cause of Death. This album confirmed the band as pioneers of death metal music, and is still considered a classic in the history of the genre as a whole.
The band would find themselves in the hands of Scott Burns, and in the booth at Morrisound several more times through their career; the next being The End Complete which was recorded and released in 1992. This 3rd album is the band’s best selling with over 200k copies sold in the US and more than 550k worldwide; the album achieved commercial success on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and The End Complete shirt print remains the best selling print in the history of Roadrunner Records.
We think it’s fair to say that these first 3 albums will forever define Obituary to any true death metal fan. These were the days when death metal was emerging, and every new release helped to push the envelope and develop the genre. We were lucky to be in the middle of it all, and to be working beside the people (and bands) that paved the way.
If you look back, you can see death metal emerging as early as 1981. Bands like Venom and Slayer were making music that was more violent than the other metal acts; lyrics about death, violence and war were accompanied by blistering sounds, harsh vocals, and incredible instrumental speed and dark imagery.
AllMusic claims that Slayer’s 3rd album Reign in Blood inspired the entire death metal genre. The album was released in 1986 – right in the middle of Obituary’s transformation from Executioner, and in line with the bands demo release dates.
The actual term “death metal” was coined and credited to Jeff Becerra in 1983; Jeff was the bassist /vocalist for Posessed – whose 1985 album Seven Churches is said to have “connected the dots” between thrash metal and death metal. Italian music journalist Piero Scaruffi noted that though “it was Possessed who coined the death metal term, the cradle of the (death metal) genre was truly Florida"
Death metal came into it’s own in the mid 1980’s. Morrisound Recording, Obituary and the other Florida acts had a profound and lasting impact on evolving and pioneering death metal. This group of musicians and collaborators have collectively created a sub-subgenre of metal music dubbed, appropriately, Florida Death Metal.
We said all of that to say this: The Morrisound Experience Documentary is going to be one of the coolest things we could ever give an Obituary fan.
In celebration of 25 long years of death metal, we returned to Morrisound Recording Studios. We hired a professional production crew, and filmed over a three-day period. Once we edit the footage it will include sets from the first three, and most influential Obituary albums Slowly We Rot (1989), Cause of Death (1990) and The End Complete (1992). You’ll also get a rare inside look into the studio that’s responsible for delivering some of the best death metal music in history.
They told us that the Morrisound Experience should be our 50k stretch goal, and they were probably right. We just wanted to make sure that we gave as much as possible back to every single Kickstarter supporter, and we would fail to deliver on that if you didn’t get to see this thing…it’s too important, and way too damn good!
NOTE TO ALL BACKERS: We will be sending out a backer-only update once the Morrisound teaser video is finished and uploaded, and we'll have some big news about the next step of this project just for you guys!
“We couldn’t be more excited about sharing the Morrisound Experience with our fans. We have performed this classic set list on every corner of the planet, so for us to have the chance to go back, perform it in the studio where it all happened, and deliver it back to the fans...is really freaking awesome!” - Donald Tardy
“To the dismay of younger metal fans, I think death metal peaked in Morrisound Studios. Okay, laugh at me...I don't care. Those were simple days. Earache and Roadrunner were kings, the Milwakee Metal fest was THE place to be, blast beats were mostly irregular and sounded like a sack of potatoes falling down the steps...but things were good. It was a prosperous time.” - Klaus at The Metal Inquisition
“In the movie Lords of Dogtown a single skate shop empowered a group of angry little skateboarding kids, and once those kids had a home, a mission and a purpose they changed the whole game and formed a counterculture that made a remarkable and lasting impact on the world of skateboarding…if that movie was about death metal, and not skateboarding, Morrisound Recording would have been that shop…and Obituary would have been among those angry little kids.” - Michael P Harrold at UNATION