Following his exit from Hail of Bullets last year, death growler extraordinaire Martin Van Drunen is fully dedicated to one project for the first time in a while. That would be the most notable death metal outfit in his illustrious history, Asphyx.
Their newest album and ninth proper studio release Incoming Death picks up where the band left off four years prior with Deathhammer by bludgeoning eardrums with a vicious yet tactful fervor.
The death/doom style of the band has remained consistent, as has Van Drunen’s vocal approach. “Division Brandenburg” is a good example of where the vocals meet the doom at a great crossroads. The raw power being delivered at varying speeds is a continuing strength of the band.
“Wardroid” has a slowed down rock vibe, truly a war march for this triumphant band for once again they proudly hold their heads up high above their death metal brethren. The drum duties are handled by someone other than Bob Bagchus for the first time ever. Stefan Huskens does his best to help you to forget that Van Drunen is now the only remaining original member of the band.
Paul Baayens’ chugging riffs push the album forth and while often slow, the pace is quite varied and upon repeated listens of “The Feeder” you start to pick apart the nuance. The bit of melody thrown in to “The Grand Denial” is excellent because by the time it hits you as a listener it catches you by surprise.
Asphyx continue their strong string of albums from when they returned with Death…The Brutal Way back in 2009. The albums since then have not been too different as this is powerful death/doom from Europe with a classic member of the scene, which ups the authenticity ante significantly.
Incoming Death is just the latest in a long line of great Asphyx albums, and for death metal fans it is all you can really ask for. Van Drunen and crew are the exact kind of brute force we need in death metal in 2016.
(released September 30, 2016 on Century Media Records)