One day I was surfing “The Metal Observer”’s pages I noticed that MORBID ANGEL's "Formulas Fatal To Flesh" only attained a 6,5 out of 10 score. I agree that this isn't MORBID ANGEL's strongest offering, in my ears that's "Blessed Are The Sick", but it's some damn fine Death Metal found on this record. Everyone that's into Death Metal knows about MORBID ANGEL, or at least they should. Their career started in the early 80's and with over 20 years on their backs one can sure call them veterans in their game.
This is their first record with Steve Tucker, he took over the mic and bass from David Vincent who left after "Domination". I don't know if the hard-core MORBID ANGEL fans ever accepted Steve Tucker as the new front man, but none of those issues bothers me. Steve Tucker growls with the best of them and to play in a band like MORBID ANGEL he sure has to be a competent bass player too. Although there's a new guy on the afore-mentioned places, it's not that difficult to hear that it's MORBID ANGEL. Trey Azagthoth is the main, almost sole, songwriter in MORBID ANGEL and he knows how MORBID ANGEL shall sound.
When MORBID ANGEL plays that good old Death Metal they are still among the best, but where they have gone worse over the years are on their instrumentals. In the beginning of the career, when Trey Azagthoth was inspired by classical music, he wrote interesting interludes. After he left classical music, lack of groove was his explanation, the instrumentals have gone sour. I don't know if there is anybody out there who like this over the old interludes, but that wouldn't help me anyway.
I guess it's time to start writing something why I like the Death Metal served on "Formulas Fatal To Flesh". The speed found on most of the songs are just pure incredible. The breaks that Pete Sandoval manages to fit into the blastbeats are simply outstanding, when it comes to hyper-blast (sounds like a Star-Trek thing) Pete Sandoval is the king. Not to mention his double bass kick, he is steady like a Swiss watch and manages to higher and lower the pace with elegance. To call this record a brutal Death Metal album would be an understatement. Sure there are bands that are more noisy than MORBID ANGEL, but I doubt that there are that many that beats the kind of speed found on "Formulas Fatal To Flesh". It's a serious speed frenzy until "Nothing Is Not" kicks in with no blastbeats, but full of killer hooks. The speed builds up again when we arrive at "Chambers Of Dis". Did I mention that every track up until now is excellent if you are into well played brutal Death Metal.
Then comes "Disturbance In The Great Slumber", an instrumental that is on the right place but doesn't sound that good at all. I support the idea of putting instrumentals around the album to make it varied enough to make those ultra-fast songs shine. If only the instrumentals would interest me and hold the quality the rest of the material does, this would be even closer to a 10.
Only two of the Death Metal songs can be considered as slow and both of them can also be rated as excellent. On one of the slow songs, "Invocation Of The Continual One", Trey Azagthoth does the vocals. It's a multilayered approach and it sounds really venomous, he sounds like something from down under (not Australia) and that must be considered as a compliment.
If you are new to Death Metal and wants to find out how good a hysterical fast record can sound, then you should check out this one. There may also be someone that got scared off by the rather low rating this record has attained. I think everyone that lay it away, or never bought it, should give it another chance. A song like the afore-mentioned "Invocation Of The Continual One" contains more ideas than some Death Metal, or any other for that sake, bands produce in their whole career. One other interesting thing is how far MORBID ANGELS comes in the alphabet with their album titles. Their last offering "Heretic" starts with a H, which is the 8 letter in the alphabet. I guess the odds are high on whether they will get the alphabet full or not. (Online March 23, 2005)