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Asphyx - Death... The Brutal Way
Review: Several different varieties comprised the death metal genre: the flowing phrase-motif kind (Massacra, Morbid Angel), the percussive kind (Suffocation, Malevolent Creation), and finally, the strangely ambient kind that Asphyx makes from recursive strumming that bypasses the offbeat for a military cadence, suspending reality by over-writing it with a brain-infecting rhythm.
Despite the European melodic sensibility that produces the theatrical epic moments which develop these songs, the bulk of each are American-style thunderous basic rhythm riffs without the offbeat bombast that makes death metal revert to hard rock. What emerges is mostly repetitive power chord riffing interrupted by epic soundtrack-styled melodies that tie it all together. As a result, songs take on a ritual nature, where repetition occurs in different contexts and builds to great intensity.
With Death... The Brutal Way, Asphyx take the simplified and more direct version of their music from the last album and focus more on rhythms that ride like a galloping horse passing under bridges: a sensation of vertigo in the whipping by of immovable objects. The price of this simplification is that epic moments are fewer and more streamlined, losing the erratic nature that creates an aura of esoteric wisdom, but the album works together more thoroughly like the tightly integrated speed metal classics of the past.
Although this album updates the style and feel of the first two Asphyx albums, it more resembles the past two in that it is increasing refinement in the restatement of known themes. However, its power increases through concise assemblages of riffs into tightly coherent songs that contrary to most music theory make an ever-expanding context of adventure arise from the simplest origins, and transport us from these mortal lands.