Wednesday, 23 May 2012

ASPHYX - Deathhammer (2012)

01  Into The Timewastes
02  Deathhammer
03  Minefield
04  Of Days When Blades Turned Blunt
05  Der Landser
06  Reign Of The Brute
07  The Flood
08  We Doom You To Death
09  Vespa Crabro
10  As The Magma Mammoth Rises

'Deathhammer' is the eighth studio album by Dutch death/doom band Asphyx. The album was released on February 27, 2012 in Europe and February 28, 2012 in USA through Century Media. On previous album, “Death… the Brutal Way” Asphyx had raised the bar very high. I loved that CD and consider it to be one of my favourite of all Asphyx’s albums, so to release something what would be even better was almost an impossible job to do. To be honest, 'Deathhammer' isn’t as great as its predecessor, but it’s still an absolutely amazing album and one which I also consider a real highlight in the band’s discography to date.

With near perfect overall production of polished rawness that’s so difficult to master these days, each song on this record is a crushing slab of slowed down doom-infused death metal. You know, the sound that Asphyx virtually pioneered in the fetal stages of the 1990s. There aren’t any fancy tricks or melodic passages to be found anywhere on this, their eighth full-length release; Asphyx stay true to their roots and each of the ten songs on 'Deathhammer' is its own individual song. From the skull-flattening opener “Into the Timewastes” to the faster, groovier “Reign of the Brute” to the purposefully-cheesy-yet-pulverizing “We Doom You to Death”, nothing on 'Deathhammer' is even remotely filler. The final track, "As The Magma Mammoth Rises," may be the greatest epic Asphyx has written since "The Rack" with a huge hypnotic riff that coils and uncoils relentlessly like a snake preparing to strike. Hell, these riffs just suck the oxygen right out of the room!

In a non-metaphoric way, this album is genius. Combining excellent riffs and licks of Baayens with Bagchus' excellent simplistic (but powerful) drumming, Zuur's dense auricular "basscraft," and of course, Van Drunen's tortured and guttural voice is as memorable as it gets, this album is a death/doom masterpiece. The only flaw in this album is that it gets somewhat repetitive at times, but this is fucking Asphyx. That's part of the charm. It is a brilliant release and if you like your ears getting crushed by sonic artillery, this is a perfect album to be shelled into oblivion by.

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