Monday, 12 March 2012

ASPHYX - The Rack (1991)

01  The Quest Of Absurdity
02  Vermin
03  Diabolical Existence
04  Evocation
05  Wasteland Of Terror
06  The Sickening Dwell
07  Ode To A Nameless Grave
08  Pages In Blood
09  The Rack

Asphyx is a Dutch death/doom band that was formed in Overijssel in 1987 by Bob Bagchus and Tonny Brookhuis. Eric Daniels was found as a second guitarist and Chuck Colli joined on vocals and bass guitar. "The Rack" was their first offcial album released on Century Media in 1991. Originally Asphyx recorded an album in 1990 entitled "Embrace the Death" for CMFT Productions in the UK, but the label went under and it wasn't unleashed until 1996 when Century Media finally put it out.

Quite primitive, bestial and asphyxiatingly heavy death/doom is what “The Rack” is all about. “Death the fuckin’ brutal way!” was the band’s slogan and this album proves that they can back up their statement. The guitar sound is exceptional: buzzing and heavy, the guitars sound more like flamethrowers than actual guitars.

Chuck Colli's replacement on vocals and bass, Martin Van Drunen (formerly of Pestilence), serves up a strangled, tortured roar that perfectly fits the atmosphere of hostility and despondency that the music conjures.
The drumming, as provided by Bob Bagchus, may seem almost laughably simplistic to ears weaned on the uber-triggered machine-gun blastbeats of modern DM – but in reality, the stripped down, bludgeoning punctuation and charging thrash beats combine ideally with the riffage, meaning no one element of the compositions ever overwhelms another. Everything works together in example after example of songcraft over individual virtuosity.

Comparison-wise, this debut Asphyx release is somewhat on the same page as the early Obituary albums and also brings to mind 'Cursed' –era Morgoth, to name but a few. Those looking for an album full of blast-beat mayhem like Cannibal Corpse or technical Suffocation-style death fare, you are bound to be disappointed. But, for those who prefer the more old-school, doom/death metal vibe, track this record down and you won't be disappointed.

Highlights include: "Vermin", "The Sickening Dwell" and "Pages Of Blood".

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