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Asphyxia - s/t - 55%

ravenhearted, July 17th, 2008

These Australians are barely 18-years old, yet they're already referring to themselves as “a unique brand of progressive, melodic, and brutal metal”. Their first release comes in the form of a self-titled full-length, which they've managed to get financed by the South Australian Youth Arts Board Project And Development Grant. That's right, Australian tax money actually goes towards helping young Technical Death Metal bands, which somehow doesn't sound like a totally ridiculous idea when you hear what these guys have accomplished musically so far.

For barely being old enough to buy their own booze, ASPHYXIA is quite an impressive display of talent. The album has technical riffage written all over it, with the odd solo thrown in to keep things interesting. The bass seems to live its own life, strumming along in the background, and there are enough tempo-changes to warrant their self-applied progressive-label. However, the “unique brand” part doesn't really seem to ring true, as this is mostly cookie-cutter melodic Death Metal with certain elements of Thrash thrown in. The mid-tempo sections don't always work out as well as they could, and tracks like “Silvertongue” and “The Hooded Figure” would benefit from being taken to a slightly higher level of brutality. The guttural vocals can also be filed under “generic spawn of the Cookie Monster”, while the screams lack enough ferocity to make them stand out.

For a debut-album, Asphyxia is both ambitious and well-played, and shows a band in the very beginning of their career with a lot of potential and confidence. They've already got the necessary musical skills, now all they have to do is tighten their songwriting and sharpen their focus, and they'll have a sure winner amongst Death Metal enthusiasts. There are several very good songs here, with “Blood And Snow” being a personal highlight, but as a whole the album fails to truly capture me, and tends to be a, somewhat sadly, forgettable affair.

(Online July 17, 2008)

Ailo Ravna


Written for The Metal Observer