Monday, October 26, 2009

Asphyx - The Rack (1991)

This record fills me with nostalgia. As a teenager, I was an angsty idiot mired in spazzy post-hardcore and metalcore. However, as I searched out bands with crazier riffs, I ended up digging into the death metal underground of the late 80s and early 90s. Initially, the poor production and lack of stupid guy heaviness confused me. However, as I read more and listened more, it became clear to me that my worldview was sorely, severely lacking. The upside to this disillusionment was a sense of wonder and excitement as a whole new existence came out of the fog of teen depression.

I can remember the confusion I felt at these raw, sloppy European sounds that were recorded in an era that I thought was entirely dominated by grunge Q101 radio rock. The title of the intro track, "The Quest of Absurdity," immediately spoke to my existential pinings. Still, my initial reaction was "these guys are just playing power chords and they're not even that good at their instruments." I kept checking in, though, and, probably around the time that I "got" Darkthrone, I "got" Asphyx, and the towering monolithic structures created by guys sloppily playing power chords permanently cast a shadow over my consciousness. Listen to the outro riff on "The Rack" until this makes sense to you, too.