September 3, 2009 | | 4

Asphyx, Death... The Brutal Way

Asphyx: Death… The Brutal Way

After more than enough years of silence, Dutch death metal legends Asphyx are back with one of the most massive albums of the year. After a couple of one off festival appearance with lead growler Martin Van Drunen and founding drummer Bob Bagchus, the band realized there is much more mayhem to inflict. With Death… The Brutal Way, the band have enlisted the heavy hitting skills bassist Wannes Gubbles (Pentacle) and guitarist Paul Baayens (Thanatos). The re-tooled line-up sounds like the Asphyx of old.

Rampant mid- to high-tempo rhythms combine with thick guitars and an organic, clean production to deliver massive walls of crushing death metal on a consistent and devastating level. The guitars are superb as Van Drunen’s gravely vocals let you know the band means business. And let’s not forget the neck snapping groove that hides amongst the drum blasts and rough guitar tones — this album is straight out of the early 1990s like no body’s business.

Chugging guitars with plenty of groove erupt from the first seconds as Van Drunen’s vocals roar along at a nice cadence. The guitars have a sweet down-tuned tone that is rough and thick. The pace picks up at 1:37 leaving the groove behind and diving head first into frenzied waters, churning with thundering rhythms and driving riffs. This is a monster song — ideal for kicking in the door of a new album.

The Herald
“The Herald” starts off with more chugging, thick guitars and heavy drums. Man, Van Drunen’s vocals are powerful and fit the tone of the music perfectly. More head banging groove courses through your body as Asphyx deliver spot on classic death metal with driving riffs, earth shaking rhythms and a spot-on production. The slow down at 1:30 is heavy as fuck. The thundering drums and bass continue as a slick lead comes in slowly at 1:57. The pace is picked back up just before the three minute mark with raw vocals and groove filled rhythms.

“Bloodswamp” builds slowly over the first 18 seconds for so before a quick scream brings in some burly riffing. There are plenty of tempo shifts ranging from slow, monolithic hammering to mid-tempo and thick grooved. I love the slow down and screams around the two minute mark, especially as the band builds slowly back up through thundering riffs to a furious groove well over a minute later. Awesome!

Death… The Brutal Way
The title track opens with evil-as-hell guitars and a rapid fire pace that’s much quicker than anything on the previous three songs. I hope you can keep up, as Van Drunen’s vocal battering is at full throttle along with the gnarly riffing and thundering drums. I love the old school riffing and groove just before the three minute point.

Asphyx II (They Died As They Marched)
This next one opens up slowly with a dark, foreboding bit of guitar work and thundering drums. At the slower pace, Asphyx take on a completely different feeling — one of absolute desolation and gloom. This is one hell of a dark track. The overall nature of “Asphyx II” is a dramatic departure and is a great segue into the rest of the album.

Soaring reverb and guitar squeals open up “Eisenbahnmorser” over the first 15 seconds before a rabid scream brings in thick riffs, crushing drums and furious groove. This one will have you seeking a chiropractor after it’s done with you. Several pace changes keep you on your toes throughout this one. A slight echo to the vocals also give the song a bit of depth. You’ll have to play this one over and over to get all that’s packed into each riff and blast.

Black Hole Storm
Light guitar takes up the first 50 seconds before unholy and massive guitars erupt from the speakers. The aforementioned riffs are quickly followed with thundering drums and a catchy as fuck vocal delivery that reminds me of another old school song, but I can’t for the life of me place it. Soaring guitars squeals introduce a ramped up pace and a fuller, thicker sound as Asphyx set their instruments to complete annihilation. Holy hell, this song is badass.

Riflegun Redeemer
“Riflegun Redeemer” begins slowly with heavy guitars and creative drum work. I’m digging the thick bass work that’s a bit more apparent in this song. The pace is thrown into a rusty blender just after the one minute mark as the rapid fire vocals come in along with bone shattering drums. Van Druen’s vocals seem to have a more urgent feel to them throughout this song. Be sure not to miss the massive breakdown after the 2:30 mark. This is one seriously aggressive track.

Cape Horn
Distant guitars introduce this next song as the band builds up to an early lead at :41 that is simultaneously soulful and bleak. The lead fades after the fire minute has passed, but the slow build-up continues to 1:30 as the vocals come in as the thick groove takes hold. The pace continues to build in speed over the next minute or so before the band takes a break and slows things down temporarily. At just under seven minutes in length this monstrosity of a track has plenty to keep you entertained — manic tempo shifts, groove, searing solos and vitriol. Speaking of leads, don’t miss the one at 6:20 that essentially ends the song.

The Saw, The Torture, The Pain
The final song fades in from the short quiet that “Cape Horn” left us with. The initial sound is bleak and cold as the guitars build upon one another to some slow moving, yet catchy as hell riffing. This two minute (and then some) long instrumental serves as an appropriate outro for one hell of an album.

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Favorite Tracks:
All of them

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