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jools green
Jools Green


Dutch Death Doom outfit Asphyx certainly have a history. They've endured break-ups, line-up changes and despite that still manage to have behind them an impressive back catalogue of nine full lengths, including this latest offering 'Incoming Death', as well as a string of splits and EP's.

The album title refers to the cry of entrenched soldiers when under severe artillery fire and vocalist Martin Van Drunen says that "'Incoming Death' promises to relentlessly bombard fans with monstrous Death/Doom done the Asphyx way".

The first thought in my mind was how would it compare to 2012s iconic 'Deathhammer'. It's a pretty difficult album to follow and I have to admit to being sceptical, not so Martin who is full of confidence with this release and says: "We knew we had a tough thing coming topping 'Deathhammer' but we did it!

"Many bands will say their last album is their best, of course. But this Asphyx one is absolutely outstanding. I'm bloody proud of the boys. It's definitely a 100% Asphyx album, but there's much more to it. I think we are the only ones that can and are able to deliver a monster like this. And as always, if we like it, we know our fans will like it too."

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Biased by my love of 'Deathhammer', I have to confess it took a little while to get my head around this album and the tracks which won me over were the slower, doom rich ones, in particular 'The Grand Denial' with its crushingly powerful core that's interspersed with haunting bursts of melancholic lead work, ramping up midway briefly and closing on haunting clean guitars, in all a bleakly impressive track.

Also 'Forerunners Of The Apocalypse' with its addictively crushing dirty groove, the wonderfully doomy and heavy as hell 'Subterra Incognita' with its bleak piano close and 'Death: The Only Immortal', which has great dirty bass lines and a haunting distance to the vocals. There are always exceptions to the rules and album title track, the faster tempo 'Incoming Death' is a short sharp and brutal yet impressive offering.


Overall 'Incoming Death' is a more focused album, smother and more polished, and the variance of tempo and mood is balanced better with many new elements worked into their slower pieces, adding a richer edge and wisely Asphyx have chosen to bring Dan Swanno in for the task of mastering, a choice that is practically like adding a seal of excellence to any album and having listened to both albums back to back in their entireties to compare them I think Martin is right. 'Incoming Death' is better than 'Deathhammer'.

Hell..! I never thought I'd admit to that!


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