Dan Vadim Von & Scott Fuller On What It’s Like to Earn Those Coveted (Morbid) Angel Wings

As recounted in our January cover story, much change has come to pass in the great and glorious House of Morbid Angel—and it doesn’t begin and end with the return of Steve Tucker. Here newly recruited guitarist Dan Vadim Von and drummer Scott Fuller describe what it’s like to be called up to the death metal big leagues. 

Do you recall your first experience with the music of Morbid Angel and the effect it had on you? 

Dan Vadim Von: My first real experience with the music of Morbid Angel was the premiere of the “Rapture” video on Headbangers Ball. I was a young high school kid who was looking to expand his musical horizons and I distinctly remember having the feeling in my stomach that I couldn’t quite describe as I watched this band take things to a new level. That was the true beginning for me as a metal guitarist. I delved into the depth of the song structures and various techniques, making it quite a lifelong study.

Scott Fuller (Annihilated, Errorgeist): I remember hearing “Dawn of the Angry” for the first time with that klank cing-cing-cing klank cing-cing-cing intro sample. When the actual song kicked in, I just thought it was the catchiest riff and drum hook I had ever heard—fast and visceral. I was an immediate fan!

Did it change the way you approach music and life philosophy?

Fuller: It did—drastically! We all have those moments when your jamming with your buddies writing tunes and you say, “Ok, let’s go from verse one the fast Slayer-y thing into the Morbid Angel riff.” We’re all guilty of that I’m sure. [Laughs.]

How did you come to join the band? Was it surreal at all to start playing those songs with Trey and Steve?

Vadim: I’ve worked with the band in various ways for over a decade as an artist, web designer, also I have supported Morbid Angel on tours with my own band a number of times. Things happened rather naturally and eventually I joined the lineup. It was a very surreal feeling playing those songs with Steve and Trey for sure, I would get goosebumps at times during certain parts that really stood out for me throughout the years. Its magic in pure form.

Fuller:  I had reached out to their management when Tim and the band parted ways—sent some videos of my playing style as well as some of my previous band’s music displaying my abilities to pull the tunes off and from there started a dialogue with Trey. It was completely surreal to meet up and jam with those guys. And now each night to see the back of Steve and Trey’s head from my drum riser? That’s a “pinch me” moment on repeat!

Were you excited by the new material?

Vadim: I was very excited from the day that Trey started writing the new songs for the album. He would share them with me in demo form and I knew that this is going to be something special from the first take of “Piles”—that this is the next chapter of the greatest band in death metal. The riffing, the structures, the drum patterns, everything so intense and powerful from the first riff on. The man is a true master of his craft and I am honored to share the stage with him every time.

Fuller: Yes! Trey had sent me some songs he was working on for the new album, there was definitely some banger’s amongst those that I knew Morbid Angel fans would dig. We also put some tunes together later on that become some of my favorites as well.

Are there any specific Morbid songs from any era that you feel an particular attachment to personally?

Vadim: That’s a tough one! Obviously the Covenant album will always hold a special place for me, but I can say the same about Formulas, Gateways, and Heretic. Those albums stayed in my CD player for a long time. Songs like “Prayer Of Hatred,” “Covenant Of Death,” “Ageless Still I Am,” and “Summoning Redemption” are some of my favorites to perform live. They have a tendency to take me to a place far far away even today as a listener. It truly is a special feeling playing the material that inspired me so much throughout the years.

Fuller: Man, there’s so many. I really like them all, but I’d have to go with “Dawn of The Angry” or “Fall From Grace” since they were among the first couple tunes I had heard from the band.
Those just had the authentic vibe I crave, and that’s what fell in love with.

Any cool experiences that stand out in your tenure so far?

Vadim: Speaking with the fans at shows has got to be one coolest experiences because you really get to see and feel the true passion that these people have for Morbid Angel. This band has the greatest fans in the world, the most loyal. I felt so much genuine appreciation for this music, for this entity, for the shows, it is difficult to describe some of these moments when a complete stranger stands in front of you with teary eyes and shakes your hand while saying “Thank you” after the concert. That is when you know that you have truly made an impact on someone, truly inspired them, gave back some of that magic that was bestowed upon you. That has to be the coolest. And, of course, trading off solos with Trey during some of my favorite songs. Hold on to your knickers!

Fuller: Playing and touring with the dudes has been a total blast! We’ve had a lot of fun so far, But probably the coolest experiences have been hanging with the fans and just seeing how dedicated and passionate they are for this band Also, the fact they’ve accepted me into their favorite band with open arms, that’s been the ultimate gratification for me.