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Humans, I shall feast upon your ignorance... - 90%

Slater922, June 22nd, 2022
Written based on this version: 2000, CD, Earache Records (Enhanced)

Last time we've talked about Morbid Angel, their new vocalist Steve Tucker surprised folks with a new record that showed that the band can still continue the legacy, even though Steve's vocals weren't as strong as David's vocals. Regardless, in 2000, the band rolled up yet another album titled "Gateways to Annihilation", and if you're a fan of the last record, let's just say that this record is right up your alley.

The album begins with the track "Kawazu", which is a 30 second track that consists of chirping crickets. Odd start, but things do pick up with the next track "Summoning Redemption". The first thing I noticed is that the instrumentals sound an awful lot like that of Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. I mean, the guitar riffs still have that slow and technical composition that is a bit reminiscent of Domination, but there's still a lot of writing of that FFTTF sound with its emphasis on technicality. The drumming is also slowed with its blastbeats and can feel a bit basic at times. Nevertheless, the beats are still powerful enough to carry the riffs with a consistent tempo. The bass is also just about the same as the last album, and there really isn't a whole lot of changes in the bass play. This might sound like it's gonna be blend on paper, but this slower track does feel a bit welcoming, as it does have some Domination writing in it. Other fantastic tracks besides the first one include "He Who Sleeps", "At One with Nothing", and "God of the Forsaken". The last track in particular is more fast and chaotic, which is fantastic at ending the album off in a more disoriented mess. While there aren't any new surprises in the instrumental department, the riffs and drums are still good at what they do.

What is a surprise, however, is the vocals. In the previous record, Steve's vocals were good, but there could've been improved a bit. Here, they've been improved a lot. A good example of this is in the track "Opening of the Gates". While the Deicide-influenced vocals weren't the best in the last track, they work here, as the deep growls sound more sincere and brutal, and further enhance the dismal atmosphere of the dark riffs. The pitched up vocals have also been improved a lot, as the pitching isn't too extreme, but their personality is still bad enough to evoke a morbid and sinister vibe within the tracks. Steve's vocals have improved a lot since the last album, and they genuinely provide some great vocal performances in much of the tracks.

At first, some folks might be turned off by this record for sounding a bit too much like the previous records, and even I kind of wish there was a bit more variations in the sound execution. Regardless, the guitar riffs and drumming are still as extreme and brutal as ever, and Steve's vocals also carry through the tracks with his vastly improved voice. If you enjoyed Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, then I don't think you'll have much trouble enjoying this one.