MORTA SKULD  “Time Does Not Heal” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

Something of a legend in Wisconsin metal circles, the story of Morta Skuld has been one of dogged perseverance and failure to give up; Always considered the first and heaviest of all Milwaukee area death metal bands, they’ve endured a lot of knocks throughout the years and many shifting changes of musical fashion. At one point in the early 90’s, they were mentioned as rivals to Obituary and Autopsy.

That destiny may yet be realized. The band has embraced the relentless heaviness of its early days on its new album “Wounds Deeper Than Time” and the response has been excellent. While the overall sound relies of catchy, bulldozing brutality, there’s still enough quirks and twists to make things interesting. And Morta Skuld’s lyrical approach has always been ahead of the pack.

Dave Gregor has been with the band since the beginning so he was the logical guy to talk to regarding the band’s history and philosophy. Here now is what he had to say recently…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Thanks for talking to us, Dave. What kind of reaction has your new disc “Wounds Deeper Than Time” been getting?

DAVE GREGOR: Thank you for doing this with me, and the response has been great and very humbling. Doing very well sales wise and charting on radio so very proud of this album.

WC: I’ve seen some refer to the new one as a “comeback” album but you’ve never really gone away. Are you surprised by people who think so?

DG: Well ,we did break up for almost 15 years, but I never stopped playing so yes, it's weird to hear that term “comeback”, but everyone has a right to their thoughts.

WC: “Wounds Deeper Than Time” is pure primal heaviness and no frills death metal. Is this the form Morta Skuld will take from here on out or is there room for experimentation?

DG: I can’t say really what will happen as we just let things go the way they go, bad or good.  But maybe there might be some other elements for sure.

WC: I sense a kind of industrial feel underlying some of the songs. Is that something you might expand upon in the future?

DG: I personally don't feel there is any industrial in our music but that's beauty of music… it’s open to what the listener interprets.

WC: The death metal influences on Morta Skuld are fairly obvious. What are some other influences on your sound that may not be so straightforward?

DG:  Any type of music that gives me an idea is an influence on me and that covers almost anything. It’s all relative and it can all be used.

WC: It sounds like a lot of the lyrics on “Wounds Deeper Than Time” are personal and emotional. Do they all stem from personal experience?

DG: Yes, they are and I draw from things that I have gone through or an experience that I may have had or a feeling at the time of the lyrics are coming out. Sometimes I just put music on and write whatever comes to my mind and then start to mold it.

WC: “My Weakness” certainly sounds very intimate. What’s the core message of this song?

DG: The message is that we all have our issues and we all have a weakness. It could be food or TV, drugs, sex, and that we are all the same in that essence.

WC: The overall mood of Morta Skuld seems bleak, but is there room for hope within the gloom?

DG:  I'm not sure I understand but we are all very positive people and the lyrics are written in that light.

WC: It seems that Morta Skuld has lyrically always been more intelligent than many death metal bands. Was that a very specific goal from early on or just something “natural”?

DG:  Early on I wrote the same stuff that most bands were writing and then I just was like,  I know nothing about gore or Satan. So I thought why not write about what I know?  Anger and hate and pain.

WC: Do you get frustrated by the narrow subjects other death metal bands continually talk about?

DG: Not really, as every band has the right to write about what they want. I’m sure if Cannibal Corpse wrote differently maybe the fans would get upset so every band has their thing that works for them and gives them their identity.

WC: You guys have been a part of Milwaukee metal for a very long time. Describe some of the early days of that scene. Did you think that bands got the respect they were due?

DG: It was amazing as all you did was flyer all over everywhere and then people came and that was it. And I feel most of us were respected more back then than now. You were looked at as a musician and now there are so many bands out there, it’s not as special anymore.

WC: It seems that the Wisconsin metal scene is now very fertile again. Do you agree and what bands should we look out for? 

DG: I do agree it has bounced back from where it was and there are a lot of talented bands in town, too many to mention and  I wouldn't want to forget anyone. I’d never hear the end of it!

WC: You guys have really hung in there hard. Was there ever a time you thought Morta Skuld was done for good?

DG: Hell yeah! When the band broke up in 1998, I was like no way will it return. Now what? But I went on to form another band and put out a few albums and a tour. But then I had opportunity to do Morta Skuld again and it all felt natural and so here we are.

WC: What’s some of the touring plans moving forward? Any shows overseas?

DG:  Right now no tour plans as of yet but we are shaking down every lead we can. We do have KY Death fest and CA Deathfest this year so far so those will be awesome to do.

WC: Any thoughts about new Morta Skuld material and how it will evolve?

DG: We have 4 songs written so far and to me it sounds like a continuation of the “Wounds” album but without rehashing the same songs. This one will be all written by us four as  thelast album had a different line up for four songs.  So we feel this will be the one we all really shine on.

WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

DG: I'd say Abraham Lincoln, Noah, and Jesus Christ. Not sure if Jesus is considered historic but I do, so there ya have it.

WC: Have you guys ever had a “Spinal Tap” moment when things went wrong that you could share with us?

DG:  Yeah, I did. It was a metal fest and my guitar just stopped working and I’m like in panic mode and my roadie is running around trying to find my spare and can’t and I’m just thinking “this sucks”.

WC: Any last words for the faithful?

DG:  Please, if you haven't bought the album, go order it through Peaceville Records or your local record store,  Best Buy or Target. And thank you and the fans for allowing us to do this and have fun with it. Cheers.