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Soulburn: The Suffocating Darkness

Old-school metal diehards tear up their convoluted history

Having put out an album each under the Asphyx moniker in 1995, the Dutch death metal crew’s founding members Bob Bagchrus (drums) and Eric Daniels (guitar) reconciled and released Feeding On Angels as Soulburn, before realising they weren’t fooling anyone and switching back to Asphyx once more.

Asphyx returned in 2007 after a seven-year hiatus, minus Eric, who formed Grand Supreme Bloodcourt in 2009 and recruited Bob for what was, essentially, another version of Asphyx. Bob left in 2013 but encouraged the band to carry on while he put Soulburn back together with Eric. Confusing? You betcha.

Fear not, though, as The Suffocating Darkness should clear the smoke a little bit. Of course, Eric’s pachyderm-like riffing and Bob’s obsession with Hellhammer’s primitive beat are instantly recognisable. But as Soulburn’s new frontman, Twan van Geel’s gargoyle rasp and the overall sinister atmosphere take the whole effort into cold and almost Scandinavian black metal territories, like Massacre covered by Dissection.

So instead of becoming another Asphyx-in-disguise, …Darkness salutes the birth of a new and venomous beast./o:p