Century Media (2012)
In summer of 1994, after fleeing to the United States to escape Polish military draft, while attending high school in Chicago thanks to a bribe to its director from a family Roman Catholic priest who then had some serious contacts in Windy City elite, I was turned to a self-titled album of an unknown band Asphyx. I found it incredibly slow and mildly amusing and I didn't quite get what the big fuss was about. This was recorded after the departure of Martin Van Drunen and the band shortly after ceased to exist.
I decided to go to a library and rent the only album in stock, "Last One On Earth" with a cover depicting a burned body of a priest with a cindered cross on his neck. And I ended up liking ONE song of that album, the opener "M.S. Bismarc". Although the album was faster and far better from the self-titled, I thought it was average at best. I lost track of these guys until 2009 with the reunion in the original line-up and excellent "Death the Brutal Way".
Here we are in 2012 and Asphyx has not changed one bit - this is still in your face old school death metal that combines Slayer and Obituary riffing. The opener sounds like it's 1992 and "Last One...". No pompous intros or easing into it just a brutal death groove from the first second of the record. This is exactly how "Last" started and it is eerie how 20 years down the line Asphyx sounds EXACTLY the same as before.
The second track is like the first with a slight variation, but now comparisons to Obituary recall "The End Complete". The third track finally slows down for a best song on the album, death/doomish "Minefield" with great melodic leads and an ending like from "For Whom The Bell Tolls" (Metallica/"Ride the Lightening"). Asphyx offers another slow burner with "Landser" but the rest is old school, simple yet brutal chugga-chugga with little variation.
It's great to hear these guys in such form after so many years, but I actually prefer Obituary over Asphyx. In both bands, though, there is a problem which is inconsistent but very annoying: the terrible reverb in certain songs. "Timewastes" sounds as if they recorded outside in the pouring rain, which takes away from heaviness and clarity. On "World Demise" (Obituary) the opener "I Don't Care" had the same issue and back then I understood this as a production flaw. But it's 12 years into a new millennium and we don't need to sound shitty to preserve sound authenticity.
"Deathhammer" is a grower, but I doubt I will come back to it much after this review. If you are Asphyx fanatic, however, this is like "Peace Sells 2012" for a dethster and I would highly recommend it to you then. Cohesive, fairly varied with strong riffs and well placed melody, but not a mindblower in my humble estimation. Anyway you slice it, "this is true death metal you bastards!"
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Dethster4life