Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Soulburn - The Suffocating Darkness (2014)

In recent years I've come to really just not give a fuck about Asphyx nor any of its many spin-offs that basically sound exactly like Asphyx. Sure, when I was younger I was moderately enthralled by them mostly due to the fact that at that time I was fairly forgiving when it came to any sort of fusion of death and doom metal (hey, pickin's were slim in those days) and of course the fact that they boasted the presence of Martin Van Drunen in their ranks, whose work on 'Consuming Impulse' I was still reeling from. Even then, though, listening to Asphyx was never a thorough endeavor as there were many bumps in the road when going from start to finish. It was always a rather puzzling experience as it almost sounded like two bands. One that could play and had a firm grasp on things and one who sounded like they were beaten over the head with a sledgehammer and rendered concussive before staggering into the studio, meaning, they would go from these somewhat showy, dare I say "sophisticated" (that's probably the wrong word here, but...) moments and then sort of slide into these segments that I can only describe as being remedial at best. Consuming Impulse this sure as fuck was not, yet there was certainly a weird charm to all of this and again, I believe that the presence of MVD probably kept me on board longer than I would have been had the mic been commandeered by someone else.

Eventually and for whatever reason, MVD would beat feet from the ranks of the band and that's when I decided to take my own leave as well. Years and years later, after learning of MVD's much heralded return to the band, I decided to see what all of the hoopla was all about. I realized, almost immediately, that the hype was in name only as the music found on 'Death... the Brutal Way' was about as lame and boring as you could get. By this time my drooling adoration of anything MVD had considerably dropped and it would take something substantial for me to get into this. Something that unfortunately would decide to remain hidden.

Sometime not long after all of this, original (or at least in terms of album appearances) guitarist Eric Daniels would re-emerge and join his counterparts in Asphyx under the guise 'Grand Supreme Blood Court' (still not sure how I feel about that name). Admittedly I was a wee-bit excited as there were more than a few of Eric's riffs in the past, particularly the slower ones, that I truly enjoyed and I was hopeful that the pairing of MVD and Daniels would be fruitful indeed. Well, after all was said and done this was as boring as all of the new Asphyx shit. No better, no worse.

Shortly after, I learned that founding member and drummer of Asphyx, Bob Bagchus had once again flown the coop. No big loss there as I always felt that his "contributions" to the band were part of why they sounded like a pack of drunken amputees headbutting their instruments and calling it music. I was curious, however, by the fact that he was, once again, reuniting with Eric Daniels to resurrect their very own Asphyx clone, Soulburn, a band who many folks seem to like and respect but personally I never got into as they were just too boring for my tastes.

I can finally say that this album does not sound like Asphyx or any of its spinoffs. Does that make it good? Nope. Basically, someone in the band must have been listening to a dump-truck load of black metal as that's basically the formula here, though in its most remedial form. No, I don't mean the whole "necro" -aka- "look at me, I'm playing as badly as I can in some pathetic attempt to come across as being old school" thing. This is more like the rendering of someone who can "sort of" play but is choosing to go for the traditionally dumbed down black metal approach without realizing that you have to have absolutely zero production value in order to really "capture" the shittiness of that genre. So yeah, basically this is pretty fucking lame. The occasional doom-"ish" riff that finds itself as part of the proceedings (if riffs had minds of their own and could speak, these would probably be wandering around wondering what the fuck was going on and how they ended up where they were) sound out of place and thrown in as if part of some half-assed attempt at pleasing those who thought they knew what Soulburn was all about.

The thing about this album and pretty much everything else connected to Asphyx (Hail of Bullets, Grand Supreme Blood Court, Pentacle, etc... ) is that it doesn't outright suck but it's just too boring to really stand out and the fact that there is a staggering number of albums that are all woven into the whole Asphyx thing now, doesn't help. For music this anemic and weak, I'm really left puzzled at how these individuals were allowed to not only build a legacy to begin with but bring it this far. I guess people are just that fucking stupid.

No comments:

Post a Comment