death metal underground
The Ultimate Death Metal Resource
Death Metal Search Engine
Asphyx - On the Wings of Inferno
Review: As if reaching into the past to the Crush the Cenotaph EP, this later album shows Asphyx -- after a jaunt as Soulburn in which a faster melodic style appeared -- taking a Slayer-style approach to speed, but carrying influences from newer material such as the black metal and faster death metal of the later era.
Since speed gains a somewhat uniform intensity, variation is decreased and with it goes much of the distinctiveness of Asphyx, but this remains an energetic, inventive album. Citations from earlier heavy metal of the type closer to hard rock, and even lifts from the riff lexicon of older proto-underground bands like Venom, compete with influences from Greek black metal, early Darkthrone, Demoncy and ripping death metal bands like Vader.
While this album propels itself with the grainy high-intensity sound of nearly constant tremolo strum, most of its riffs are not melodic in the sense most would recognize; they are chromatic or whole interval, and tend to flow together without much differentiation in shape or tempo until it is time for the song to run into a riff that changes chord more slowly but keeps tremolo speed high, creating a feeling of sand flowing over a rigid geometrical shape.
The problem with this approach is that it standardizes too much while keeping intensity uniform, which blurs the contrast between riffs and makes the entire album feel like a variation in texture, but it also encloses some imaginative riff-writing. However, the demand for distinction in texture squeezes the need for variation into vocals and drums, creating a more chaotic approach, which while powerful fragments the unity of approach that made Asphyx unbeatable for many years.