Review Summary: Primal, simple whilst super inspired, a real beast!
I suppose that as you somehow got here you know already that Asphyx are absolute monsters of the death doom genre and can boast with a mind-blowing discography. You might know as well that this is not one of their more acclaimed outputs and the same goes for all the other non Drunen ones. As well, this is considered more of a demo level mash-up with many of the songs being considered to be better represented on other albums. Embrace the death is though the roughest but most delicious gem , most primitive and crushing, crawlingly doomy¬* and ferocious album they've put out and one of the best out there imho. I am writing this simply because I feel I got so much satisfaction from it that I am due to make it and hopefully you will also click to it.
Riffing is simplistic but extremely catchy¬*¬* and so heavy it could just about destroy anything that dares to stand in front of it.
There is also the¬* lead guitar which is extremely sorrowful, very much constrasting the vibe given by the rythm guitar and adding a lot of depth to the overall feel.
The vocals are monstrous, animalistic and quite incredibly also have a fabulous sing along quality. The fact that they sometimes seem offtune and out of place increases the cavernal charm and I don't care whether this was on purpose or not. Quite embarrassingly, I've considered this album to be Van Drunen's best vocal performance ever for years , it did not cross my mind for a second it could be someone else. This clearly shows not only that I probably am not the smartest guy around but it is also a huge proof that the quality of the vocals is top tier. RIP Theo Loomans. He died at 27 (just like so many (unfairly) more famous other artists) hit by a train whilst his car was stuck on the rails.
Drumming is round and fat coming in at the right time and adding to the theatrics that are hard to catch upon first listens.
I bought the album because I am a sucker, delete that, a compulsive collector, delete that too, a completist...I mean this is mostly early days recordings of songs that were in their first albums in a refined form, most would say this should be a no buy...and I did not like it too much at the beginning...but it has grown on me with every listen until it became the behemoth that conquered my ears. I now release though that the concept of releasing the 'first thought lost' record clicks with me well as I very much appreciate Darkthrone's Goatlord and Moonspell's¬* Under Satanae which are as well the somewhat reinterpreted early demos dropped as an album in the middle of their discography.
Despite (seemingly) being a compilation of stuff brought about together without much planning it flows perfectly aided by a production that is the very definition of organic, cavernous, chuggy (in a true death doom sense).
Asphyx are at the top of the top mountain here and I will definitely give this a spin regularly for as long as I can!!