The improved variant
|5 (1 votes):|
Whereas Martin van Drunen-era Pestilence was quite an advanced death metal band, Asphyx was quite something different. Devoid of any sophistication this band alternated between the shady grooves of doom metal and death metal’s vigor sense of aggression. While The Rack marked the debut of this band, it would be Last One on Earth to leave a worthy impression behind for good.
Early doom/death metal bands rarely found themselves stuck in a certain pacing and Asphyx were no exception in this regard. I suppose that in certain ways, Last One on Earth might be comparable to the stuff Divine Eve (though I doubt Asphyx was influenced by them). The Celtic Frostian ‘’Stream of Ancient Wisdom’’ and the ominous doom-crawling ‘’MS. Bismark’’ certainly feel stylistically similar, although the distinct vocals of Martin van Drunen make a huge difference of course. It’s also worth mentioning that Last One on Earth feels much more focused compared to its predecessor. It’s not like The Rack was stylistically different, but it just lacked the stand out tracks, while this record has a fair amount of sticky, yet filthy compositions that are demanding enough to make one play guitar, throw the horns and bang their head – exactly in that order of course. ”The Incarnation of Lust’’ has a nifty ear worm of a death metal riff that definitely makes it the catchiest one on the record, although the band still manages to make one feel doomed by the time that break appears. ‘’Serenade in the Lead’’ immediately bursts out death metal riffing as if there’s no tomorrow with Martin van Drunen howling over the flamethrower-sounding guitar tones with malice.
Indeed, the cherry on this rotten cake are Martin van Drunen’s vocals and honesty, I don’t think the man has ever sounds like has ever sounded as tortured as he does here. Take the post-apocalyptic title track for instance, where the vocals tell a horrific story of a world no longer inhabited – I just don’t see how a thicker growled roar would have done the track justice. As the band’s self-titled record would reveal two years later, having the deep roaring Ron van Pol behind the microphone wouldn’t be an advantage (although the vocals weren’t the main problem on that album either).
While Last One on Earth appears cohesive and mostly focused, certain songs aren’t quite up there with the highlights, even if they’re thematically very much comparable. ‘’The Krusher’’ relies on a dwelling doom riff and while the track certainly isn’t devoid of any action, it takes a while before things get going. ‘’Food for the Ignorant’’ speeds up a lot sooner, but again resurrects around a main riff that’s somewhat lacking in brute force as well as in groove. Regardless, Last One on Earth is a solid slab of disgusting doom/death metal and although Asphyx has never been a favorite band of mine, they really delivered something worthy here.
Release date: October 1992
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