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Asphyx – Crush the Cenotaph (Reissue) Award winner

Crush the Cenotaph (Reissue)
by James Brizuela at 06 January 2020, 7:50 PM

ASPHYX, legendary doom and death metal band from the Netherlands, have had a storied career. Originally forming in 1988, having released a trio of demos. “Carnage Remains”, “Enter the Domain”, and “Crush the Cenotaph”. In 1992, ASPHYX would release their “Crush the Cenotaph” EP consisting of 2 tracks from the original 1988 demo, “Crush the Cenotaph”, and “Rites of Shades”. “The Krusher”, a track that would end up on their second full-length album, “Last one on Earth”. And finally, live recordings of “Evocation” and “Wasteland of Terror”, from their debut album, “The Rack”. They have now rained down upon us a re-release of the “Crush the Cenotaph” EP.

Anyone who happens to love doom and death metal know the deep love they have for ASPHYX. Their powerful, raw, and unrelenting death filled music always kicking you in the face. It is great to be able to hear a re-released version of such a legendary band’s humble origins. Let us begin with the opening track, “Crush the Cenotaph”. The raucous thrash-like opening kicks into a drum cadence that smashes in with fierceness. The tempo slows down quite a bit and thus begins the hammering of the vile vocals from Martin van Drunen. The tempo changes vary from the slower doom-like trance, to a full powered thrash attack. It is impressive to see how ASPHYX challenged their musical prowess, even back in the early 90's. “Rite of Shades” brings in the slower doom-like tempo right from the beginning.

The guitars and drums working together to create this powerfully sludge like melody. The track kicks back into the thrash-like death metal toward the end. I love the balance between the slower tempo and the high powered that ASPHYX showcases. It doesn’t give you much time to think, just adds that deeper element of groove to their music. “The Krusher” has a lot of more varying speeds of melody being used. I am a bigger fan of this track, on account of the heavier side of the thrash and death metal sound. There is a good balance of slower sludge-like melody and the faster more brutal death metal sound. The live version of “Evocation” offers an insight to how ASPHYX sounds in comparison to their recording. There is some impressive guitar work being done in the track. It has an almost psychedelic rock feel to it before returning to the brutality of their normal sound.   I have to say this is an incredibly sounding recording of a live track from the early 90's. You can clearly hear every instrument, which sometimes isn’t usually the case, especially with older recordings.

Wasteland of Terror” caps off the EP in perfect fashion. The live recording begins with the raspy and vile vocals of Martin van Drunen getting the crowd riled before the onslaught of the track begins. I can only imagine what that pit must have been like during this recording.  The powerful sound blaring into the crowd and destroying everyone around. ASPHYX is a monster of a band, and you would do well to listen to this re-release. You can hear how they began their journey, and I’m sure it would cause you to listen to the rest of their catalog. It is great to be able to listen to a more cleaned up version of their older hits. Blare this one in your speakers.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Crush the Cenotaph
2. Rite of Shades
3. The Krusher
4. Evocation (live)
5. Wasteland of Terror (live)
Martin van Drunen – Vocals
Paul Baayens – Guitars
Alwin Zuur – Bass
Stefan Hüskens – Drums
Record Label: Vic Records


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Edited 30 November 2022

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