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Asphyx - Death...The Brutal Way (CD)

Death...The Brutal Way
by Yiannis Doukas at 17 June 2009, 10:19 AM

Some years ago, when ASPHYX had released that fantastic On The Wings Of Inferno CD, they were supposed to be in the 'Party San Festival' billing in Germany. That, of course, never happened due to Eric Daniels's departure, resulting in Holland's death wielders returning to their graves.
In 2007 that festival would be the reason for their - once again - comeback with a very strong lineup, probably the best they ever had. The basic member, drummer Bob Bagchus, the toxic larynx of Martin Van Drunen, the man who recorded and was in the Feeding On Angels and On The Wings Of Inferno masterpieces, named Wannes Gubbels (PENTACLE eternally, by the way!) and Paul Baayens in guitars, known for his activities with THANATOS and HAIL OF BULLETS. The guitarist's place is of major importance for a band like ASPHYX, not only for composing reasons but also because of that trademark sound that more or less was built by the riffs and effects that Eric used. And, honestly, I cannot think someone better for this place; the new album is a strong proof for that, plus the fact that the vaulting horse for this revival probably was HAIL OF BULLETS and the duet of Martin and Paul.
This appearance in Party San was a big success. In parallel there stood a concept behind Century Media for a compilation where bands of the label would cover each other. Although the first thought was of a GRAVE one, ASPHYX ended into the almighty Monotheist of the gods named CELTIC FROST. Like in the very first years (they covered songs like Nocturnal Fear) now we had Os Abysmi Vel Daath and there couldn't be a more fertile ground for the beginning of their deadly, macabre and rotten Death Metal way. Except this, the band wrote a new song named Death…The Brutal Way, a dynamite close to Serenade In Lead, with lyrics talking about their comeback and their identity. Both these songs were released in the previous year as a 7 single via the cult Iron Pegasus label of Costa Stoios (trivia: whose band members photos were inside On The Wings Of Inferno's booklet?) and became sold out.  
After some festival live appearances the team entered the gates of Sonic Assault Studios with Frank Klein Douwel as the engineer and recorded their high-anticipated new album. With the mixing and mastering handled by Dan Swano and a same title with the 7 single (a name that if I remember well had been used for the first time in that three-track promo back in the beginning of 1991 coming from the man behind the legendary Slayer Magazine - respect! - named Metallion), all the auspice was foretelling about a storm coming our way…
…and indeed hell breaks loose with the opening track Scarbutics. Out of the mud and the guts of On The Wings Of Inferno the characteristic explosive ASPHYX riffing, the rhythm drumming and the great vocals of Van Drunen guide your mind towards the two first albums, with a refrain that melts iron.
The riff's magic is present in the beginning of The Herald and once again ASPHYX looks at the year of 2000. In the middle you will find the classic Doom elements while the solo has the aesthetics of tracks like Summoning The Storm or Last One On Earth. The same goes for Bloodswamp while I cannot find the proper words to describe the the homonymous track. It cuts throats and the break is capable of making you jump from the roof.
The choice to create the successor of Asphyx has a risk, since a lot of the band's lunatics consider it as one of their best songs ever. The track is as Doom as death itself, enough good, but it loses in any comparison with the part one inside Last One On Earth. Besides that,  I found some parts that made my interest low down and this did not happen during the previous blood sweating tracks.
The war sirens sounds and the holocaust comes again with Elsenbahnmorser; the song accelerates and when Martin is screaming fire! bombs and bullets are falling while the riff can easily be described as a spike in your ass. The piano intro of Black Hole Storm maybe create some thinking to some of you but it leads to a riff that will open the gates for a very good, rotten to the core refrain. This is the less good track of the album but in 1:46 there is  THE RIFF that make forget everything.
Destruction is present again in Riflegun Redeemer that moves in the same territories as the homonymous one with a bridge that is a a hymn for Death Metal music. Cape Horn is also unbelievable, something like the hidden jewel for Death…The Brutal Way; personally speaking, it takes me back to Theo Loomans's period. It has a total Black atmosphere, as macabre as it was unleashed from tombs forgotten by time. Great song, I believe it could easily be included in an album like The Rack, having highlight guitar work, with a mourning melody rising from semi-buried coffins. Closure comes with The Saw, The Torture, The Pain instrumental, with once again a great riffing penetrating our rotten ears.
ASPHYX was, is and will always be one of the most important and groundbreaking bands in Death Metal. This is an axiom. And having that in mind this album could not be bad. The magic of power, of simple but hellish playing with the unique toxic vocals together with the creation of an atmosphere that very few bands can create makes them colossal. If you expect musical masturbation and other similar bullshit that you may thing as Death Metal or other teach you to consider as Death Metal, simply forget it. And even if Death…The Brutal Way is not The Rack, neither Last One On Earth nor On The Wings Of Inferno plus I would wish a more barbaric, dirty production with more powerful guitars, it remains the best 'genre' album of this year till now. And the bands that can over-top it are not that much.

4 Star Rating

The Herald
Death…The Brutal Way
Asphyx II (They Died As They Marched)
Black Hole Storm
Riflegun Redeemer
Cape Horn
The Saw, The Torture, The Pain
Martin Van Drunen - Vocals
Paul Baayens - Guitar
Wannes Gubbels - Bass, Backing Vocals
Bob Bagchus - Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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