Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Hail of Bullets/Pestilence/Decaying
Rating: HHHHHHH (2/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Into The Timewastes
2. Deathhammer
3. Minefield
4. Of Days When Blades Turned Blunt
5. Der Landser
6. Reign Of The Brute
7. The Flood
8. We Doom You To Death
9. Vespa Crabro
10. As The Magma Mammoth Rises

Martin van Drunen (Vocals)
Paul Baayens (Guitars)
Alwin Zuur (Bass)
Bob Bagchus (Drums)

Mutilating Process (7” 1989)
The Rack (1991)
Crush the Cenotaph (EP 1992)
Last One On Earth (1992)
Asphyx (1994)
Embrace The Death (1996)
God Cries (1996)
On The Wings Of Inferno (2000)
Death...The Brutal Way (7” 2008)
Death...The Brutal Way (2009)
Asphyx / Hooded Menace (Split 7” 2011)
Asphyx / Thanatos (Split 7” 2011)
Reign Of The Brute (7” 2012)


Drums and vocals recorded at Harrow Studio.
Guitars and bass recorded at The Morser Studio.
Production by Paul Baayens, Harry Wjering and Asphyx.
Mixed and mastered by Dan Swano at Unisound Studio.
All music and lyrics by Asphyx.
Cover art by Axel Hermann

Released 27/2-2012
Reviewed 24/11-2012

century media

There were plenty of things these "young" foursome could have done that would have been much worse than this album, I know that. They could have been criminals, gang leaders preaching violence and dealing drugs, idiots driving around in high speed through densely populated areas and hitting people, or they could have abused people, raped, stolen, robbed and done trafficking or sold drugs. They could have encouraged and engaged in hate crimes or hunting and killing of whales. There are plenty of things that could and would have been worse to do for these four guys but that doesn't mean at all that I think they did a good choice when they decided to make this album instead of something else, only that it was a better choice than violent, criminal stuff. I still think it was a terrible choice to make 'Deathhammer'.

This isn't the first album from Asphyx, not even close, because this is a band that's been around for more than 20 years now and what I find remarkable with that is the fact that it sounds exactly like it was something a first band threw together as a demo after a month or two, recorded completely without a budget and on whatever equipment they could get for free. As with most bands in the genre this Dutch constellation has been through many members and also a couple of hiatuses. The only member that's been with the band since the beginning is Bob Bagchus but also Martin van Drunen was with the band in the beginning but then left for 15 years between 1992 and 2007 but since then he's been screaming with this band and since then there hasn't been any hiatuses either. Now they're joined by guitarist Pauö Baayens and Alwin Zuur on bass, however none of these four impresses the least.

Asphyx is known as a so called death/doom band and they make their music without any interest at all of being a popular, big selling band. I come to that conclusion partly because of their name but mostly because of their music that sounds more as something that is made to scare people away from listening than to encourage it. I get the picture that they are a bit like us at Hallowed and don't strive to get as many fans as possible but have a goal to do what they love and the way to do it in a legal, financed way is to release it for the public. Therefore I imagine that Asphyx might reason at least a little bit like I do about their music when it comes to my review and just think it's complete garbage that they don't care the least about anyway and that the only thing it gives them is a bad aftertaste. If they do reason like that they probably also think that it doesn't matter that some people doesn't like what they do because it wasn't an approval from anyone that they were aiming for - it was to do what they love and want. If anyone doesn't like it? Who cares, someone always will so why care about the criticism? No reason.

So, here is my criticism - because I don't find 'Deathhammer' attractive at all. The sound is really, really bad and it sounds almost like they've collected this recording from when they tuned the instruments and tried the microphones, not from a seriously meant recording. Noise is followed by more noise and it's hard to say what sounds worst - the shouting or the repetitious patterns from the instruments. The drums are worst of the instruments, they seems to be stuck in a scratch in the record that makes it repeat the same second over and over in to infinity. Sure, the music could have been worse - they could have sounded like Endstille but seeing it strictly in annoyance factor I think this actually is worse than Endstille. Endstille are just static noise, if you lower the volume you can almost have it going without even noticing it there in the background. But you can't even do that with Asphyx - they make all these annoying noises all the time, go up an down in volume and so on and hence if you lower the volume you still get annoyed by it and if you crank the volume to a max it's even worse! This really is annoying all the time, no matter how you play it.

So for me, this is really bad! And I'm surprised that something this bad is released by Century Media because my view has always been that Century Media don't release whatever crap that comes through their door. But I guess I've missed the Asphyx albums because they've been with the label for a long time (though I haven't heard them). At least they normally release albums with better sound quality. But… not even that is on this album. It's an album that doesn't give me anything at all, more than perhaps a bad aftertaste similar to the one from a hangover. Which really isn't something you want. At least not me.



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