This album is criminally underrated, perhaps because David Vincent is not there. In my opinion it is the best death metal album ever and certainly Morbid Angel's peak, both musically and lyrically. Having followed the band's development from '90 onwards, Formulas... was a thoroughly pleasant surprise, dispelling any fears that Vincent's departure would end the band - far from it, it is the pinacle of their career. It contains elements from all the previous albums, from blastbeat driven thrashers (Heaving Earth, Bil-Ur-Sag, Covenant Of Death), to doom-laden crawlers (Nothing Is Not)and all in between. Also, the production is neither as muddy as Altars... nor as polished as Domination, but stands happily in the golden medium. I love Tucker's gorilla-like voice, and the album is wrapped in a very spiritual aura, even though this is somewhat concealed by the 'catastrophic' lyrics.
I understood the lyrics better when I read interviews with Trey at the time. Although on the surface they seem to be about destroying those who oppose you, on closer inspection they are about transcending your own limitations by realising the arbitrary nature of the self and destructuring it on the way to personal freedom. A pretty noble and not-necessarily-aggressive quest.
Although all the (metal) tunes are awesome, my faves are the two older tracks: the re-recording of Hellspawn (from the Abominations... album), infinitely better than the original, is one of (if not THE) most brutal song(s) of the band. The reworking of the '84 song Invocation Of The Continual One - originally titled Morbid Angel and containing the opening riff of Immortal Rites - is amazing, highly atmospheric and perfectly sustains its 10 minutes with not even one boring second, ending with an outstanding melodic classic heavy metal solo.
As with most of their keyboard-led tunes (apart from Place Of Many Deaths from Heretic) I could have done without, but as most are placed at the end of the album, I just press stop at the end of Invocation...
I hope that in years to come Formulas Fatal To The Flesh(notice the FFF = 666 of the title ;-b) will be recognised as one of the best death metal albums of all time.