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Huge disappoinment and still overrated - 30%

morbert, April 10th, 2007

I understand The Rack has become quite an underground death metal classic over the years. Yet I was so disappointed when it finally came out! I had played their ‘Crush The Cenotaph’ demo and ‘Mutilating Process’ EP over and over and was so looking forward to the debut of these Dutch masters of death.

Although the band had managed to get the famous Martin van Drunen (ex-Pestilence) on vocals, I did prefer Theo Loomans who did a marvellous job on the demos and first single. Van Drunen was good but let’s be honoust, his sound was the ‘Pestilence sound’ and a bit too filthy whereas Loomand sounded angrier which suited Asphyx so much better. I also wondered where second guitarist Tony Brookhuis had gone. He had been responsible for clean guitars and leads in the earlier days on - for example - the mighty ‘Thought Of An Atheist’. Something that gave Asphyx that that bit extra in their sound, something called ‘dynamics’. Now only the low tuned guitarbasics of Eric Daniels were left, without any nuances, decent solos (just some minimalistic ‘leads’) or even clean parts. Why on earth didn’t they get a new second guitarist? I missed those dynamics and found The Rack a big leap backwards, becoming twodimensional doom-death metal.

Next up in my disappointment, was the choice of songs. Classic Asphyx songs like ‘Rite of Shades’ and the already mentioned ‘Thoughts of an Atheist’ were simply missing! Although the presented songs were individually very good, it was the composition of the album as a whole that made it hard to entirely sit through. The album included so little uptempo parts, it came close to being one big monotome experience. Something they didn’t have any problems with on their earlier work and fortunately were able to do right again on ‘Last One On Earth’.

Third important fuck-up has to be the production! On The Rack we can mostly hear guitars, guitars, vocals and guitars again. I doubt if the band had really recorded basslines. (I think not because van Drunen has got to be death metal’s worst bassplayer) The drums sounded so far away, I am sure drummer Bob Bachus can’t be serious about calling this a good recording.

Because of these three major fuck-ups, I still find The Rack to be the worst Asphyx record in their entire discography. Maybe an underground classic to some, but it could (and should!!!) have been a major league classic if Asphyx had given it their best.