Morbid Angel - _Formulas Fatal To The Flesh_
(Earache, 1998)
by: Adam Wasylyk (10 out of 10)
The first month of 1997 saw the release of my favorite album of that year, My Dying Bride's _Like Gods of the Sun_. It now appears that the first month of 1998 may have a similar result, for Morbid Angel's _Formulas Fatal to the Flesh_ is devastatingly harsh and heavy with brutality unparalleled to any of the band's past material. Apparently, ex-vocalist/bassist David Vincent's departure (to play in his wife's band The Genitorturers) has in absolutely no way affected Morbid Angel; actually, the band have improved since the somewhat stale _Domination_ (which suffered from over-production). The opening 30 seconds will leave the listener in awe of Azagthoth's guitar attack, new vocalist Steve Tucker's raging growls, and Pete's blazing drumming, which haven't seen this speed since his days in Terrorizer. With Vincent gone, Azagthoth has now become the main composer and focal point of Morbid Angel, and he has in turn changed the focus of the band: now, the band sings in praise of the Ancient Gods. Azagthoth has said he didn't care for Vincent's lyrical style (particularly on _Domination_), so the guitarist has dedicated both the music and lyrics to the Ancient Beings, which he has partially built his lifestyle around. You can't help but hear the _Altars of Madness_ influence in the music as there's almost a back to the roots feel to it. Of the 14 songs (five of which are instrumentals), tracks like "Heaving Earth", "Nothing is Not", "Hellspawn: the Birth", and "Covenant of Death" will leave those convinced that Morbid Angel is still one of the best death metal bands in the metal world today, and _Formulas Fatal to the Flesh_ should most certainly be a contender for best record of 1998.

(article published 5/2/1997)

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