History & BiographyDutch death metallers Asphyx have a complicated history including a temporary name change to Soulburn. Formed in the late '80s, the Dutch band had gone as far as recording an album when their label went bankrupt before a release could be organized. A rare EP entitled Mutilating Process was also released early-on through Gore/Nuclear Blast which remains a collectors' item. Losing early member Theo Loomanns, the remaining two members approached Pestilence's recently-departed singer Martin Van Drunnen whose joining the band would make Century Media Records (Van Drunnen later married CM Germany's publicist) out of Dusseldorf, Germany happy even if the Asphyx boys already had the contract in their pockets. The band would report that The Rack was recorded for $1,000. Van Drunnen would later join Bolt Thrower - a band with which Asphyx had toured.
A series of doomy, death metal albums followed (including a live EP), without much success as the band was constantly undergoing line-up and name changes. Furthermore, the band was not seeing much promotion, had to cancel tours and also experienced a setback with Loomans being involved in a serious car accident.
Embrace The Death was the band's long-lost debut album from 1990. God Cries featured the return of original member Theo Loomanns on microphone, guitars and bass! Theo's car was struck by a train on the tracks in 1998. He may have committed suicide.
The band called it a day following the release of On The Wings Of Inferno. Wannes Gubbels was the group’s bassist, but Eric Daniels actually played bass on the album. Wannes’ name was erased on this album’s re-release. Displeased Records issued the band's Embrace The Death album on vinyl in 2005 complete with Liner notes by drummer Bob Bagchus. The band now featuring Martin van Drunen (vocals), Paul Baayens (guitar), Wannes Gubbels (bass/vocals) and drummer Bob Bagchus was back at it in early 2007. The group was playing live in Europe in 2008. Singer Martin Van Drunen, guitarist Paul Baayens, bassist Wannes Gubbels and drummer Bob Bagchus were recording a new album, which would also feature a DVD recorded at Party.San festival in 2007. The band picked Death...The Brutal Way as the title for its return album, which was now due in July, 2009 through Century Media Records. The album was mixed by Dan Swanö at his Unisound room. Asphyx kicked bassist Wannes Gubbels at the end of 2009 out due to "musical differences" according to the band, "Since Asphyx is a non-compromising band, we had no other choice than to find a suitable replacement. A replacement in the very person of Alwin Zuur [Pulverizer and Escutcheon]. Wannes would focus on Pentacle. Ibex Moon Records issued a vinyl edition of Asphyx’s The Rack album in 2010. The release was only available from Ibex Moon Records and Abyss Records mail order. The first 25 copies sold through either www.ibexmoonrecords.comorwww.officialabyssrecords.com would be autographed by band members Martin Van Drunen and Bob Bagchus. It was limited to 666 copies on blue vinyl and includes new liner notes with commentary by journalists, fans, fellow musicians and the band members themselves. The album also came with an 18" x 24" Asphyx poster. The band’s DVD/CD package Live Death Doom was released in July, 2010 through Century Media Records. Asphyx had a new album, Deathhammer, out on February 27th through Century Media. Asphyx released a 7” EP entitled Reign Of The Brute through Century Media. Drummer Bob Bagchus left Asphyx in early 2014 in order to spend more time with his family. He was a band founder. His replacement was Desaster and Metalucifer man Stefan Hüskes. Asphyx’s self-titled album was being re-released as a gatefold double LP through Ordo MCM.in early 2015. The band was touring Latin America for the first time in 2015. Asphyx was in the studio recording a new album in late 2015 for an early 2016 release. Stefan Hüskens was on drums. Asphyx released a 2016 album, called Incoming Death, on September 30th through Century Media Records.Vienna Metal Meeting was a festival taking place in Vienna, Austria on Saturday 8th of April, 2017. Confirmed bands were Asphyx, Sodom, Mortal Strike and others. Heidelberg Deathfest or HDDF 2018 – Part III chose the slogan “Support Your Local Death!” and took place on the 24th of March in that city. Among others Asphyx, Milking The Goatmachine and Benighted were appearing. Asphyx would release its 2021 album, entitled Necroceros, through Century Media Records on 22.01.2021. After two years of forced hiatus, Metalitalia.com, Vertigo and Cerberus Booking announced details for Metalitalia.com Festival 2022. Taking place in September, the line-up included Sodom, Watain, Abbath, Asphyx and Bølzer. Abbath and Watain were to tour together. The band announced a number of festival appearances for 2023 including Incineration Fest, Graveland Open Air and Death Coast Festival. The band booked two concerts with Legion Of The Damned at the end of summer as well. The group was booked for Hell And Heaven Metal Fest 2023 in Mexico. The band was booked for Harnbarg Metalfest for 2024.
ASPHYX - DEATH THE BRUTAL WAY - IBEX MOON
Nine years between albums and Asphyx’s reformation is one of the rare instances that such a move makes sense. Death The Brutal Way belongs in every death metal fan’s collection. The name says it all, and what is astounding, and the band completely backs up the title’s claim.
Martin Van Drunen is back on vocals and has lost none of his raspy growl. Having hopefully gotten over his hair loss, or whatever other issue he had, the singer and his musician colleagues deliver on the brutality, the deep distortion, the ferocity and the emotion on every song. Everything that didn’t make Asphyx a household name - because humans are too stupid everywhere every time - is still on this disc including the band’s patented hacking sound, world’s most depraved vocals, surprising amount of speed and, best of all, the slow brutality of doom that no one does like Asphyx. You will choke!
The introduction is done swiftly and the band clearly has no qualms showing younger bands the stuff. The album is a wild weapon of simplicity. The new line-up has managed to preserve the Asphyx sound without condition. Bloodswamp is excruciatingly excellent, has a sample and probably the album’s best bass work. The speed and crushing drum rolls are thunderous. The title track might be the album’s best cut. The power of Bob Bagchus’ drums needs to be heard. The guitar lick should have been mixed louder. Admittedly, the album could use more of these as well as guitar solos. Asphyx II is a slow and brooding inferno and certainly hear that drum reverb at the end. Eisenbahnmörser (‘the railway mortar’) has another sample and is wild and crazy. The guitars at the beginning make Slayer moot. The lyrics, whatever they are about, would fit on a Bolt Thrower album. Cape Horn is another superb jab of death doom. The song is heavy, but really doomy. The drum fills are nice and lead into the crushing instrumental that closes the album, The Saw, The Torture, The Pain. Some might call it, ’they saw, they got tortured and they felt pain.’
Not sure why Century Media didn’t release this album on these shores. Perhaps Lacuna Coil had a new photo shoot the label had to publicize or Orphaned Land’s sitar broke and the band and label were cuddling. In the meantime, Death The Brutal Way should be taught in death metal schools for years. It is that good. - Ali “The Metallian”