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Formulas Fatal to the Flesh

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(43 Reviews)

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  • I like this album so darn much I’ve put off reviewing it for a while because I’m not sure I can do it justice, but here goes. Morbid Angel were my first death metal band, and after more than a year of listening to the genre they’re still my favorite. It seems on every album they manage to deliver with flair, innovation, and of course, mind-blowing musicianship. “FFF” showcases the band in fine form. One aspect of this album that jumps right out is its speed. Right from the beginning of the classic “Heaving Earth,” it’s evident that “FFF” is going to be a speed-oriented album. However, this is not to imply that it is in any way one-dimensional, as the first three tracks wind their way through a dizzying amount of tempo changes. The changes are often somewhat subtle, but each of these songs ranges from midtempo to kind of fast to really freaking fast, keeping things from ever getting monotonous. However, “FFF” in my opinion really hits its peak on slower, more groove-oriented songs like “Nothing is Not” and “Invocation of the Continual One.” These two songs each feature absolutely crushing riffs from Trey Azagthoth, guaranteed to get your head banging in no time. Another noteworthy element of “FFF” is its production. It’s thicker than molasses, perfectly matching Trey’s heavy, downtuned riffs. Now while the riffs here may be way downtuned, Trey does a lot more with them than anyone has any right to expect. While downtuned riffs have been a staple of death metal since the genre was pioneered way back when, I don’t think I’ve ever heard them played with such speed and precision. Not to mention the fact that Trey throws in plenty of harmonics and fast, distorted solos that will make your head spin. I don’t know the technical jargon for what he does, but I do know that it sounds pretty damn cool. Almost as impressive as Trey’s guitar work is the fact that no matter what he does, Pete Sandoval mangages to keep up with him on the drum kit. Sometimes he pummels away with typical death-metal intensity, sometimes he goes with a faster tap-tap-tap style to keep pace on the speedier sections. Steve Tucker was new to the band on this album, but his vicious growl makes him sound right at home. His bass isn’t much of a presence, but this band still has one of the tightest sounds to come out of the metal genre. If you haven’t heard this album, you’re really missing something.

    Posted on February 2, 2010