Saturday, September 15, 2012

Asphyx - Deathhammer

Asphyx being pretty much my favorite band out of The Netherlands (closely followed by Pestilence), I was very, and I do mean very excited for a new album from the Dutch crushers. Asphyx are probably amongst the few groups who principally kept true to their traditional veins, and although some of their material fail to reach the same peak as their archaic masterpieces ''The Rack'' or ''The Last One On Earth'', they still somehow managed to keep the bloodline pure, and in 2012, they closely follow the steps of their lauded sophomore and gouge out another demolishing, percussive death/doom bombast. Quite literally, Asphyx's music is one of the heftiest around, in any genre, even though the heaviness usually comes from the overt plainness and the heavyweight thumps of the drums, reinforcing the delivery. On ''Deathhammer'', Asphyx scarcely expands its boundaries, often plodding on heavily around the same path that was already manufactured by their primal footings, but if you're a die-hard fan, or even appeased with heavy and bludgeoning thrashy death metal, than this is one hammer you should get yourself slammed with, now.

The first thing I realized is that the songs are structured and organized rather oddly; the Dutch maniacs don't rivet a whole bunch of three to four minute songs to proclaim the gathering an album, they have songs with architecture deviating substantially from each other, each song being either very brief of long, and the elements jammed into each of these tracks render the listener perplexed to these angular, structural staccatos. This is, of course, only the album's architectural format, but it's swerving penchant serves as a crucial element to send harrowing waves of stress and pain towards the listener. What I'm talking abut is simply a tendency concerning the band's upright and queer changes in pace and song lengths, and albeit that may sound like the least important implement affecting the album, believe me, it's one thing that has a heavy effect on the album. With the first two track ''Into The Timewaste'' and the almost ludicrously short title track, you think you got away, finding yourself in a frivolous assault of angered and speedy brutality, and not Asphyx's doomier tendencies, but as the momentum swipes into the crestfallen plods of ''Minefield'', you slowly feel a dismal miasma washing over you - an unhinged slab of moist doom dabbling your skin in monotonous gore and somber depravity.

Yes, ''Minefield'' is that moody a track, and as the album wallows and blushes into another jagged twist whilst switching from ''Of The Days When Blades Turned Blunt'' to the second contemptuous and crushing mid-paced doom composition, ''Der Landser'', you'll definitely be feeling weirder than usual. So basically, this staccato of a prose makes up the anatomical basics of Asphyx's formula on this album, and whether people are content with or not, I must admit that I found it to be efficient, though not entirely original. Perhaps the album still isn't exceedingly complex and I did feel the lack of entropy, but Asphyx plays a damn well game in both styles, both the speedier and bulky incursions and the drudgy trudges; and therefore I cannot seem to dislike any kind of trait the album possesses, except its lack of originality, and even most of the negative vibes of that deterrent are marred with the sublime joy you can attain through pure old school fervor. And so the album continues to crush, until it reaches the cataphracts of an appendix, ''As The Magma Mammoth Kisses'', finalizing the brutal simplicity of doom and death. I was honestly quite trepidatious when I was first listening to the album, apprehended that it would be too plain and boring, but it was not, as I explain above, and thus, this is one death/doom record I can easily recommend. Melancholic heft.

Der Landser
Of The Days When The Blades Turned Blunt
Reign Of The Brute

Rating: 86%

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