Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
The First Asphyx Album Without Martin Van Drunen
Asphyx is the self-titled album by the band of the same name from the Netherlands and it was released in 1994. Early on it is evident that this would end up being a better release than God Cries which would come into existence just two years later. Even though this self-titled album does not have Martin Van Drunen doing the vocals it is still better than what would come after it.
The Vocal Styke Differs as Well Compared to Previous Asphyx Albums
Vocalist and bassist Ron Van Pol has a vocal style that is much deeper and perhaps more harsh than that of Martin. The vocals sound like a person who is struggling to get the vocals out of their vocal chords but for the dark and brutal nature of this album these vocals are the right kind for it. Some of you might say that this does not make any sense from a musical standpoint and you might wonder if this album is even listenable. The vocal style is similar to that of Nicke Andersson of the band Entombed although Nicke sounds better compared to Ron Van Pol.
About the Songs In Asphyx
The style of this album is a slower kind of death metal in comparison to their latest album but in 1994 this is the way that many artists of the genre did things. As the first song “Prelude of the Unhonoured Funeral” shows you can play death metal and make it sound creative. The song has some spoken dialogue amidst the slowness of the guitars. “Depths of Eternity” has that Florida death metal feel to it as the subject matter of death dominates this song. “Emperors of Salvation” is a song that has that old-school death metal riffing style. If you have heard the music of bands such as Obituary you will notice this musical quality but this song is much better than the music of Obituary. The Dutch certainly know how to play death metal music and make it sound creative enough. Lyrically, their themes of death and darkness have been consistently applied. In this early stage of their career, they were getting started and this was after the first departure of Martin Van Drunen. But as was alluded to earlier, Asphyxis a better album than what would come after it.
‘Til Death Do Us Part is a song that talks about what happens when we are born and come into this world and upon death our body disintegrates as our soul is separated from the body and goes to where no man has been before. Lyrically it is a song about the life cycle as well as what happens after a divorce.
Asphyx Is a Good Album That Needed a Little More Musical Flavor
However, the album is not as good as Leprosy by the band Death. Even so, what is offered on this album ranges from good brutal death metal to even a more atmospheric style such as in the song “Initiation Into the Ossuary.” If there is one thing that the album suffers from it is that it has the same brutal death metal style with solos and it does not vary musically very much at all with few exceptions. For those fans just getting introduced to this band’s music, The Rack is a better album to listen to first before you listen to this one. The riffs in Asphyx are respectable and decent and the bass guitar play is pretty good but musically the album needed a bit more variety and flavor to it just like a scoop of vanilla ice cream would taste better with chocolate syrup and a few Skittles candies on top of it.
Rating for Asphyx: 78 points out of 100 for a grade of C+
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© 2021 Ara Vahanian