|Classic Review: Asphyx - The Rack|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 1991
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 24, 2004
Reviewed by: Nemanja Mandic
For those death metal fans who are not in the least bit familiar with the works of Dutch act Asphyx, as I was until recently though I knew of the band, then do yourself a favour and check them out. From start to finish, 'The Rack' is one intense listening experience. This is not the type of album that is easily absorbed in just one listen. It may even take more than five listens to even begin to understand the greatness of this masterpiece of death metal-brutality but, in the end, it is most definitely worth it, from this particular reviewer's experience.
Virtually, each of the nine tracks on offer here are highlights which is a definitive sign of a release that is worth the 'classic' status. After the spooky-sounding intro, which almost serves to remind the listener of the ensuing chaos ahead, the first 'proper' track "Vermin" blasts out of the speakers and is easily one of the most ferocious and fastest songs on the album. If there's one thing that defines what this album is about, then it's most certainly the heavy-as-fuck guitar sound. It alone makes this album one of the heaviest I've ever heard in the entire metal genre. "Evocation" is another outstanding cut which begins with a mind-numbingly heavy riff and is a very good showcase of the death meets doom style which Asphyx employ so well. This can also be heard to great effect towards the end of the album on the tracks "Ode To A Nameless Grave" as well as "Pages In Blood", the former being a haunting, gloom-filled instrumental while the latter explodes into a thrashing monster after its slow start. The final number, the title-track, is perhaps the finest song of them all and best showcases all the musical elements contained within this record. From the dark and gloomy opening chords through to a brilliant, 'classic' riff mid-paced part and ultimately culminating in the total onslaught of speed and violent riffage, this epic-style track has it all. Pure death metal heaven!
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 couple. Those looking for an album full of blast-beat mayhem a la 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 CD down ASAP! You won't be disappointed.
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