Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Some Basic Information About the Album
Genre: late 1990s brutal death metal that still has some of the same drumming style of earlier Morbid Angel releases such as Covenant
Record label that it was signed to at the time: the famous UK independent record label Earache Records
What Makes This Album Different From Earlier Morbid Angel Albums?
The famous Florida death metal band that is known for landmark death metal albums such as Covenant entered some new territory in 1998 with their 5th studio album called Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. First of all, there was a change in the vocalist and bassist for this album. Steve Tucker replaces David Vincent for this album and his vocals are a notch more brutal than David’s are/were. This album’s title also has some kind of significance to it, referring to the biblical symbol of the Antichrist.
Also, let us mention that this album has a sort of interesting twist to it in the sense that there are some lyrics in Sumerian. That’s something that we rarely see in the metal genre and even for back in 1998 it would have been some sort of foreign concept for any metal band to have lyrics in such an ancient language. Another deviation point for Morbid Angel as it pertains to this album is the fact that guitarist Trey Azagthoth does the vocals on a few of the songs of this album and one of them is the song called “Invocation of the Continual One.” This song was actually written back in 1984 and they must have had some reason for waiting a full 14 years to include it on this album
Some Detailed Analysis of the Vocal and Musical Style of "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh"
Whether it is by pure coincidence or purpose driven intent, there are five instrumental tracks on this album out of the 14 songs which can provide the eardrums a bit of a pleasant relief instead of having to be constantly fed nothing but heavy death metal for 56 minutes. However, the way that this album starts is not different from Covenant in the sense that the style from the early 1990s is retained with the riffs and drumming style which is commonly referred to as blast beats. However, the vocals from Steve Tucker are considered to be more demonic in nature. I would interpret Tucker’s vocal style as being rougher than David Vincent. With David Vincent, his vocals are more audible and understandable and they are of a slightly lower growl style. Steve Tucker really lets out his demonic vocal style which almost leads to a bellowing kind of style (think George Fisher). Even if Steve Tucker is more difficult to understand in terms of his vocals this does not cause the album to be musically poor. Formulas Fatal to the Flesh is the last release for Morbid Angel in the 1990s and thus the decade of the Florida death metal scene of the 1990s ended for them. There is definitely a feeling of nostalgia for some of us when it comes to the decade of the 1990s and rightfully so, as there were many outstanding metal releases in that decade including Covenant which was released 5 years before Formulas Fatal to the Flesh. When so many bands were changing their style for the 1990s, Morbid Angel did change certain things about their music but they still retained that death metal feel while adding a touch of more demonic brutality to their vocals.
Final Thoughts About the First Album With Steve Tucker Doing the Vocals
“Hymn to a Gas Giant” is just a short instrumental song in which the guitars seem to repeat themselves and this one really doesn’t stand out as being superb in the literal sense.
Final Score for the Album Formulas Fatal to the Flesh: 75 points out of 100 for a C grade.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian