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Classic Review: Morbid Angel - Formulas Fatal To The Flesh
Morbid Angel
Formulas Fatal To The Flesh

Label: Earache Records
Year released: 1998
Duration: 51:36
Tracks: 14
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 25, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Formulas Fatal To The Flesh

Rated 4.31/5 (86.13%) (62 Votes)

'Formulas Fatal to the Flesh' was Morbid Angel's fifth studio album, and the first album not to feature David Vincent on vocals. To me, this was the last Morbid Angel album to really capture my attention, with the opening salvo 'Heaving Earth' setting the pace nicely for the rest of the album (with only a couple of standard Azagthoth instrumental tracks to break it up later in the album).

All the usual Morbid Angel trademarks are present and correct as you'd expect (Sandoval's inexorable drumming, Azagthoth's otherworldly guitar meandering etc), but at times, they're also pushed to new extremes. I remember hearing 'Prayer of Hatred' on a compilation CD a few months before the album was released, as well as 'Bil Ur-Sag' after it was played on the late John Peel's Radio 1 show - and being blown away by their power and intensity. Once I finally got my hands on the full release, I soon realized that they were two of the strongest tracks on it. However, seeing as there are a few more tracks that equal their quality on this album ('Nothing is Not ' and 'Umulamahri' in particular), it makes for a great album when taken in in a single sitting. From the 'Where the Slime Live'-esque 'Umulamahri' to the face-removing old school clusterfuck of 'Covenant of Death', Morbid Angel were obviously keen to take a step away from the somewhat commercial-leanings of previous studio album 'Domination', making this album sound somewhat like a cross between 'Blessed Are the Sick' and 'Covenant', featuring the formers feral, old school iniquity, and the latter's down-tuned malevolent barrage all wrapped into a simple commanding package. Steve Tucker makes his best attempt at out-doing their former vocalist (minus the clean, low vocals that were occasionally used to great effect by Vincent from their 'Covenant' & 'Domination' albums) as he did on any of the releases he covered vocal duty on, sounding as filled with venomous hatred as Vincent ever did, without managing to completely fill his big shoes.

Hopefully, the return of David Vincent on vocals can inspire Morbid Angel to release another belligerent explosion of an album such as this one. After the last couple of Morbid Angel albums (both of which failed to ignite much interest even by the band's most hardcore fans), I can only keep my fingers crossed of such a return to form….

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