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Formulas Fatal to the Flesh is an album of frightening perfection and compelling vision.
I remember back when this was released many (myself included) were skeptical as to how Morbid Angel would sound without David Vincent; not only on vocals, but without his input on the music. For me, all fears vanished upon listening to the first song. Over the course of the album, it becomes apparent that this is an even more focused band than before. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh seemed to blow every previous Morbid Angel release out of the water. The music was faster, the vocals were faster, Trey Azagthoth's riffs were completely skewed into something even more odd and obscure than many thought was possible, Pete Sandoval's drumming was light years ahead of nearly every other extreme metal drummer, and the lyrics brought to life the most essential concepts that Morbid Angel had used since their inception.
Formulas Fatal to the Flesh has far too many highlights to mention. "Prayer of Hatred" features a thick-sounding, mid-paced middle section that is sure to get the listener headbanging every time. The simple string-bending riff is a great embellishment during the verses of this part as well. The opening riff of "Hellspawn: The Rebirth" may cause the dead to rise and devour the living if played near a cemetary during the alignment of certain celestial bodies. At least, it's worth a try! "Covenant of Death" has some of the wildest solos on this album; sheer unrestrained power before a sudden, mind-numbing stop and some crushing doom riffs bring the song to an end.
Trey Azagthoth's love of anime is reflected in the bubbly atmospheric pieces like "Disturbance In the Great Slumber," "Hymn to a Gas Giant," and "Ascent Through the Spheres." For these happy-sounding interludes to be included on an album that features some of the fiercest songs Morbid Angel has ever created, shows that, much like Celtic Frost before them, this band was never afraid of taking risks or experimenting regardless of how some narrow-minded listeners might have reacted.
Formulas Fatal to the Flesh features some of the most bizarre and unique riffs, solos, structures, and lyrics in all of metal. Pete Sandoval's drumming at times seems to defy human ability in terms of speed and complexity. Of course, it always did, but even more so on this CD. The overall impression is one of awe at how well the music and concepts meld to create an imposing monolith of an album. Morbid Angel's vision of The Ancient Ones is brilliantly portrayed and willed into being on these amazing songs.