Asphyx – Death… The Brutal Way

Asphyx - Death... The Brutal Way (2009), Death Metal“Death… The Brutal Way” is easily my album of the year and the return to form that I have been anticipating for years. It’s not that Holland’s Asphyx in the later days have been bad, for albums such as “God Cries” and “On the Wings of Inferno” were enjoyable death metal, but the institution of Asphyx just lost a bit of the rawness and doom laden urgency that was such a vibrant part of their first 3 releases. “The Rack” in particular will forever reign as one of the best death metal albums… EVER. Martin Van Drunen’s vocals were purely anguished. The death and doom laden riff work was simplistic, but so earth crumbling that all one can do is bang thy head. And that tone… speaker cones wept beneath the shredding and pulsating rawness of the bands life ending guitar tone. Unparalleled. Mighty. Dank with the stench of coffin exhuming rot. “The Rack” will forever be a tough album for Asphyx… hell, for any band, to beat. “Death… the Brutal Way” features the long sought after return of Van Drunen, hot on the heals of Hail of Bullets popularity and proud upholding of ancient death metal, the time couldn’t be better for Asphyx to strike again. And to back it all up, they reconvened in the studio and did what they had to do… created 10 death bloated, doom hailing anthems to the darker path of musical extremism. This album has years of filth under its collective fingernails and the grime that detonates out of the speakers is so full of conviction, that long lost urgency is the very backbone of this album. Van Drunen sounds like he hasn’t missed a beat and his throat can withstand the torture of leading 2 bands. The music nostalgically falls in line to sound like material that could fit in quite comfortably after the “Crush the Cenotaph” EP and just before “Last One on Earth” full-length, for the writing trio of Wannes Gubbels (bass/Pentacle), Paul Baayens (guitar/Hail of Bullets), and of course the longstanding cenotaph of brutality himself, Bob Bagchus (drums),dug back into the vaults to rekindle the formula that works best for this band… agonizingly slow doom dirges as found on “Asphyx II (They Died as they Marched)”, that explode into furious progressions of blast-less aggression on the anthemic “Death the Brutal Way”. Effects ridden harmonies soar above the droning foundation in a simplistic fashion, but the impact is heightened by the fact that it doesn’t have to be complex to be good. Asphyx are the antithesis of what modern day “turbo” death metal has become and it’s good to hear an always solid band come back and show the new school that keeping it simple provides just as many effective and interesting avenues of brutality, while keeping the songs memorable and worth coming back to for repeated listens. Along with an albums worth of classic death metal, “Death… the Brutal Way” contains a bonus DVD featuring the return of Asphyx to the stage with their pro-shot performance at Party San Open Air Festival in 2007. Top quality and value all the way around. “Die by fucken Asphyx”… indeed! –Marty

Ibex Moon Records

~ by martyworm on September 5, 2009.

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