Mão Morta was formed in November 1984 by Adolfo Luxúria Canibal, Joaquim Pinto and Miguel Pedro, vocals, bass and guitar respectively, they had been performing in a group called PVT Industrial, and were joined a few months later by Zé Dos Eclipses on guitar and Miguel Pedro became the drummer, they were a post-punk group heavily influenced by industrial music and by the Swans, having even referenced their bassist Harry Crosby alleged words of encouragement "you look like a bassist", towards Joaquim Pinto in October 1984 in Berlin, Germany. The group name Mão Morta (Dead Hand) was a term used for a law during feudalism, in which the servants would have to pay a tax when the patriarch of the family died to remain in their master's land. The group continued to grow within the country as their raw performances gathered some attention through the following years, releasing their first tape in August 1987, with Carlos Fortes as their second guitarist, who had joined the group in the previous year.
In July 1988 the group released their debut album "Mão Morta" via Ama Romanta a Portuguese indie label, run by João Peste, considered by many one of the country's best alternative rock albums. Later that year the group had the opportunity to open for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on their two Portuguese shows, in Lisboa and Porto. In 1990 Joaquim Pinto left the group and was replaced by José Pedro Moura from the avant-pop/rock group Pop Dell'Arte as they were also joined by António Rafael on keyboards, it was with this formation that they recorded their following album "Corações Felpudos", the following year they released another album, titled "O.D., Rainha Do Rock & Crawl" issued by Área Total from Guarda and then by the German label Big Noise Records in 1992, their first release to be issued outside of Portugal, it was the last record in which Zé Dos Eclipses participated as a member, as he left the group afterwards and was replaced by Sapo, also a former Pop Dell'Arte member, the group then concentrated their efforts on the recording of their following album "Mutantes S.21", released in December 1992, with this recording they achieved a moderate commercial success, reaching the 28th position on the national charts, with the track "Budapeste" becoming one of the most requested videos on the national tv station program "Vira o Vídeo".
With the success of "Mutantes S.21" the group signed with BMG/Ariola to release "Vénus Em Chamas" (Venus In Flames), Carlos Fortes left in 1995 and was replaced by Vasco Vaz, former Braindead, but was not part of the recording of "Mão Morta Revisitada", a collection of re-recorded songs from their earlier albums, which sees Zé Dos Eclipses return to the group as a guest. In 1996 the group was invited by the CCB to work on a theatrical performance based on the poems of Heiner Müller, a celebration of the writer work, who had recently passed away, those shows resulted in the release "Müller No Hotel Hessischer Hof".
"Há Já Muito Tempo Que Nesta Latrina O Ar Se Tornou Irrespirável" (It Has Been a Long Time Since The Air in This Latrine Became Unbrethable), was released in 1998, the record was influenced by the writings of Guy Debord and the Situationists, the year 2000 saw another line-up change as José Pedro Moura was replaced by Marta Abreu, which was then replaced in that same year by Joana Longobardi, both had been members of the Voodoo Dolls, but only Marta participated in the recording of "Primavera De Destroços", released in 2001, the group then toured the country and played on several festivals. In 2003 the group released "Carícias Malícias" (Malicious Caresses) on the group's own Cobra Discos, it was a live recording of their 2001 concert at the auditorium of RDP (Rádio Difusora de Portugal).
In 2004 on the group twentieth anniversary, they released "Nus" (Naked), which saw the group embark on a national tour dubbed "Sessões de Outono", then in 2006 the group was asked by Theatro Circo to do a performance for them, with the text "Les Chantes de Maldoror"of Isidore Ducasse aka Comte De Lautréamont being the one chosen for the group to work with, it premiered on May 2007 and subsequently performed through the country theatres, the recording of the spectacle "Maldoror" was issued as a limited edition in 2008, "Rituais Transfigurados" was released the following year, an old a video concert soundtrack performance from 2000, with Maya Deren films being played in the background, recorded at 16th editon of the festival Curtas de Vila do Conde.
Adolfo Luxúria Canibal - Voice (1984-)
Miguel Pedro - Drums (1984-)
António Rafael - Keyboards, Guitar (1990-)
Sapo - Guitar (1991-)
Vasco Vaz - Guitar, Keyboards (1995-)
Joana Longobardi - Bass (2000-)
José Salgado known as Zé Dos Eclipses - Guitar (1985-1991)
Carlos Fortes - Guitar (1986-1995)
Joaquim Pinto - Bass (1984-1990)
José Pedro Moura - Bass (1990-2000)
Marta Abreu - Bass (2000)