Home > Music > Morbid Angel – Formulas Fatal to the Flesh

Morbid Angel – Formulas Fatal to the Flesh

People say this album is faster than the already manic “Covenant”. This is sometimes true.

However, it would be hard to ignore when Prayer of Hatred drops down into sludgy sound while Trey strums major chords to create dissonance, how Covenant of Death only retains its speed in its first half, or the how monumental closer “Invocation of the Continual One” simply isn’t a blastfest. Frankly, this varies up its tempos nearly as much as Domination did, although there are fewer midpaced moments overall.

Anyways, the shrewd listener will notice that riffwise, Morbid Angel has distanced themselves somewhat from the melodic material that shows up on earlier albums – the riffs are more angular and have freed themselves somewhat from tonal centers. This adds to the sense of willing chaos, which is strengthened by its contrast to the slower, sludgier aspects of the music.

In fact, this move away from consonance and (to a degree) riff-driven rhythms moves this away from the fairly large swathes of second wave black metal that Morbid Angel helped define. Even the new vocalist, Steve Tucker plays a role in this – his growl is more generic than Dave Vincent’s, but his phrasing is very fast and nimble. He also tends to fill up the beats, as opposed to leaving substantial amounts of space – on the other hand, the actual amount of lyrics has increased. Worth noting.

This is the last Morbid Angel album to contain substantial amounts of re-recorded material from older days – Hellspawn is the most obvious example, but Invocation of the Continual One allegedly was one of the first songs the band wrote, and close listening will reveal riffs that were later used in other songs – the ones that I notice most clearly come from Immortal Rites and Angel of Disease. It also contains the largest amount of ambient interludes so far – while Hymn to a Gas Giant is basically just the pleasant sounding intro to Invocation, the rest.. what can I say? They suck. Then again, most of the Morbid Angel interludes (with the exceptions of Doomsday Celebration and Desolate Ways on Blessed Are The Sick) suck. No offense intended – they don’t develop well, and they often sound rather haphazard and poorly put together. “Hymnos Rituales De Guerra” is kind of cool – it’s a busy sounding “tribal” drum solo, and therefore doesn’t suffer from the latter problem at least.

As with the other albums, this gets high marks in general, but skip the interludes.

Highlights – “Prayer of Hatred”, “Covenant of Death”, “Umulamahri”, “Hellspawn – The Rebirth”

  1. Jason
    2011/07/14 at 21:41

    I dunno, it’s a fun album but I still can’t get past Steve Tucker mispronouncing “paradigms” on Heaving Earth, it’s tainted my opinion of him (even in the rather excellent Nader Sadek).

  2. Jason
    2011/07/15 at 08:18

    Oops, my mistake, it’s Trey who mispronounces paradigms in “Invocation of the Continual One”, all these years of dissing Steve when I should’ve paid closer attention.

  3. 2011/07/15 at 10:22

    Odd. I’ve never noticed either, probably because I don’t pay all that much attention to lyrics in music (except for occasionally reading them). Also, I really should check out the Nader Sadek album – I listened to a track and found it quite excellent, but then again I’ve listened to a lot of death metal and found it excellent (most recent: “The Nocturnal Silence” by Necrophobic).

  1. 2012/01/17 at 11:30
  2. 2013/03/08 at 16:35
  3. 2015/02/12 at 14:53

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