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The Rack - Asphyx

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Asphyx / Audio CD released 2006-10-02 at Century Media

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      29.01.2008 13:48
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      Asphyx's first album (1991).

      To name 'The Rack' among the death metal classics would be a bit of a stretch (b'dum-tish!), but it's still widely praised by many as a seminal release. Unlike most death metal bands of the time, tending towards higher production values and a greater emphasis on speed, technicality and brutality, Asphyx remained dedicated to pursuing a dark and vile sound, which leads to much of this album taking a surprisingly slow and doomy approach bookended by violent sections of thrash. In the spirit of all truly evil music, the sound quality is also shockingly poor, which works to its advantage even if the intricacies of the guitar riffs become lost in a general fuzz.

      The low production values may present an obstacle to those more accustomed to the polished death metal of the nineties, but it only really presents a problem in the faster songs such as 'Vermin,' the slower ones really benefitting from the added dingy atmosphere without losing any of the clarity of the slower guitars. This doom element first rears its ugly, putrefying head in the crushing riffs of 'Diabolical Existence,' the first point at which the album really starts to impress, and from here it's an uphill journey all the way. 'Evocation,' 'Ode to a Nameless Grave' and 'Pages in Blood' all feature excellent melancholy guitar solos from Eric Daniels, played at a severely slow speed alien to modern death metal, and Martin Van Drunen's raspy growl (formerly of the band Pestilence) works much better in these slower songs where his satisfyingly vile lyrics can be clearly understood, even if the change in direction from the band's early years and demo releases under the late Theo Loomans is a slight disappointment.

      This album is let down slightly by the thrash sections that sound stilted and weak in the gritty production, but it's more than compensated by the excellent slower passages that work just as effectively as anything in the doom genre. Asphyx may have been fighting a losing battle in the face of death metal that was forever moving further from its origins, but this is a great release from its heyday when bands were branching out and exploring new, completely contradictory ideas. Asphyx weren't one of the best, but these Dutchmen are equally notable.

      1. The Quest for Absurdity
      2. Vermin
      3. Diabolical Existence
      4. Evocation
      5. Wasteland of Terror
      6. The Sickening Dwell
      7. Ode to a Nameless Grave
      8. Pages in Blood
      9. The Rack

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  • Product Details

    Disc #1 Tracklisting
    1 Quest Of Absurdity
    2 Vermin
    3 Diabolical Existence
    4 Evocation
    5 Wasteland Of Terror
    6 Sickening Dwell
    7 Ode To A Nameless Grave
    8 Pages In Blood
    9 Rack
    10 Quest For Absurdity
    11 Vermin
    12 Evocation
    13 Diabolical Existence
    14 Ode To A Nameless Grave
    15 Sickening Dwell
    16 Wasteland Of Terror
    17 Pages In Blood
    18 Rack
    19 Rite Of Shades
    20 Crush The Cenotaph