Asphyx And The 11th Hour Album Presentation Show

By Arif Aksit on March 16, 2012 10:45 AM | Permalink |

Thumbnail image for Asphyx_0103.jpg Both Asphyx and the 11th Hour recently released new albums. They decided to perform two special gigs to present their new pieces of bludgeoning art. The first was on the 9th of March in Arnhem at Willemeen and the second was somewhere in Germany. As a big Asphyx fan I wanted to attend this for sure and The 11th Hour are also pretty fun, but I did not know the opening band Nailgun Massacre.

First of all. Asphyx fucking rules. Last year they played the gig of the year. This would be the 4th time that I would see them live and I noticed a general trend. Every time was more awesome than the previous time. So the only question regarding Asphyx and this review is: Will this trend continue?

I am not that familiar with The 11th Hour. I only started investigating them after I learned that they would be performing at the Dutch Doom Days last October. Their gig back then was quite enjoyable and intimate. I was wondering what new songs they would play live. They already played a couple new songs at the DDD and I wondered how different the set would be.

Lastly there is the opener of the evening. Before they were announced to open for this I never heard about them. This of course warranted some investigation. After some, ahem, investigation, I determined that they were seemingly mediocre and suffered from less than ideal production and mixing values but hey, a band might be much better live in such a case!

After doing regular pre-gig stuff like eating, a friend and I arrived at Willemeen just as Nailgun Massacre started. My hopes for the band did come true. Playing live, they were a lot better than through my other *cough* source. That they covered 'Ridden with Disease' which was originally done of course by the masters of the macabre, Autopsy. This song fitted in their show perfectly, as they do play in the style of Pungent Stench and Autopsy. Their show was energetic and was as good as a new inexperienced opening band can give. I would not mind seeing them again and I am now more interested in how they can follow up their debut. Proof that the Netherlands is still capable of producing potent new acts.

Up next was The 11th Hour. They play Doom/Death in the style of countrymates Officium Triste. Their style is on more of the emotional side of things without sounding like the big UK bands. The band was started as a solo project by legendary Dutch skinpunisher Ed Warby, known from acts like the legendary Gorefest, Ayreon and more. He writes pretty much all of the music this band produces. He hired/acquired various people to turn this project into an actual band that can play live including the vocalist of Officium Triste. Their performance was good, just for some reason they never managed to touch me as they did the first time. Maybe it was because the crowd was here for Asphyx and not for Doom/Death on the emotional side of things? Regardless I had a good time and never got bored during the gig.

Asphyx would be up next. I could not wait. I picked a good spot right at the middle and in front. Asphyx are I would say, the biggest death metal band of the Netherlands at the moment. Most of the other classic big Dutch death metal bands have fallen in some way or another, leaving just Asphyx of the golden generation of Dutch old school death metal. The style of Asphyx fits quite neatly into the early Dutch Doom/Death style. They were more on the Death side than most others but still played basically in a Celtic Frost influenced style. They released 2 absolute classics in the early 90's and released a couple of decent albums after that. They split up seemingly for good around the turn of the millennium. However due to Martin van Drunen, the vocalist, and his experiences in the Dutch Death metal supergroup Hail of Bullets, Asphyx got together again with a new guitarist replacing one of the main men of the original Asphyx sound, Eric Daniels. As the reunion album showed he filled those shoes very well. And now the 2nd post reunion album was done and was about to get presented to us! From the very first seconds the gig was of course great. Total headbanging in under 2 seconds. They once again completely destroyed everything and played a set which was a mixture of old and new material. I can remember at least them playing 5 new songs at least. The last song before I had to leave was 'As the Magma Mammoth Rises' and like they said in a recently done interview, it is their way of paying tribute to Bathory. A very interesting song. Apparently they played a couple more after that but I had to go leave quickly after 1.5 hours of old school death metal awesomeness to catch the train. I also quickly bought the limited edition of the new album before I left.

It was a very enjoyable evening in the end. The 11th Hour and Nailgun Masscre of course can do nothing but bow to the headbanging ability of Asphyx, and frankly The 11th Hour are not a suitable band to play at such a night, but then again it was a bunch of friends playing together having fun. However was Asphyx once again better than last time? I don't know. They crushed and destroyed just like last time and it was again very enjoyable. So I would say it was pretty much on par, but with a lot of new material. If you can, go see them live ASAP.

Image credit to Metalshots

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