Asphyx - Last One On Earth (CENTURY MEDIA - LP 1992)
Just when you thought that Asphyx couldn't get any better - think how great "Embrace the Death" and "The Rack" were - they recorded something like "Last One On Earth" and left me speechless. This could be their best album in entire discography (although the impressive comeback LP, "Death the Brutal Way" dethroned it recently!!)! Impossible, you say? Of course everyone may have his own opinion, but to me this third album is the ultimate asphyxiation! Already the front cover makes me love this LP, definitely it's one of the best graphics in the history of death metal, probably also one of the most blasphemous ones. Decaying zombie priest, with this huge cross on his neck... and jesus weeping in agony... Come on, I can see Deicide envying.
The history says that the album could have been much different as it is, since Martin van Drunen recorded his vocals without knowing that the rest of the band wanted someone else (Ron van Pol) to sing and write the lyrics for the album. It's so weird, as van Drunen entered the studio, recorded all the vocals and left, without even seeing anyone else from the band! Luckily rest of the Asphyx (Daniels and Bagchus) decided to keep all the parts done by Martin... Anyone wonders what this album would be like if Ron van Pol recorded everything? Would it be better? I sincerely doubt that. Van Drunen has impressive voice, as always raw and screaming like maniac, what fits well to the Asphyx music. And I may not like all his lyrics, but I have to admit, I think he was one of the best death metal growlers at the time.
What do I like best about "Last One on Earth"? Well, let's be honest, musically this album doesn't bring anything new into the explored Asphyx style. The band already showed all their capabilities on the previous LPs and so this third album doesn't differ stylistically from them at all (maybe is bit faster, but that's it). But its strength lays in composing some of the best songs in band's career. It's all played in mid paced tempos mostly, but the feeling and aggression in these riffs are incredible. This is the kind of death metal I love; not overly complicated nor too melodic, not too complex or whatever, but music, which brings certain moods in the first place - be it something very dark, obscure, morbid or satanic or something, where you can smell the rotten stench floating around... Anyway, death metal with feelings, not mechanical bullshit. Asphyx is great at playing something like that, they may be the masters of this shit. And "Last One on Earth" stands as one of the best death metal albums in the history of the music, if we speak about the old school style.
To begin the album with such a track as "M.S. Bismarck", the success is guaranteed. I fuckin enjoy this song a lot, with this killer mid paced riff that opens it. This song is one fuckin moshpit killer, with the tempo and aggression uprising more and more; until that doomy part, where you still bang your head, as it also brings so much energy. Not bad as for the song about submarine he, he! Another favourite track of mine from side A of the vinyl is the title song. It is fuckin brilliant. Much slower than the "submarine anthem", it is so massive and heavy that the walls crack. And when at the end I hear this slow riff with mournful keyboards in the background, I get thrills like hardly ever. Pure masterpiece. And finally Eric Daniels plays some of his fantastic guitar leads here; I though he forgot how to do it! "The Krusher" is also all about the slow, brutal riffing, only at the end the song speeds up a bit. Surely this version of "The Krusher" sounds better than the one from "Crush the Cenotaph" EP. Oh, and if you're in need for some faster, more intense playing, "Serenade in Lead" is a pure slaughter, which doesn't slow down even for a second.
Side B brings attention with "Streams of Ancient Wisdom" especially. This is the old song originally from the "Mutilating Process" (1990) and also from "Embrace the Death" album. These archaic sounds still shred to pieces and even though I may prefer the other versions of this song, the one from "Last One On Earth" also kills. Another brilliant song from this side the vinyl is "Asphyx (Forgotten War)". Man, this is just classic Asphyx song, with the obscure riffs, either slow and heavy or mid paced and more violent... But the morbid atmosphere is there. From the other tracks, "Food For the Ignorants" is similar to "Serenade In Lead", just straight forward and relentless riffing, with only one slightly slower part in the middle, which is one god damn crushing headbanging riff.
So, as you see, Asphyx again delivered some great death metal anthems and the quality of their material didn't disappoint. Even though I really love "The Rack", "Last One On Earth" has one thing that makes this album a winner. It's the production; Asphyx went to different studio, Harrows in Holland and definitely got better, more aggressive sound than the one from Woodhouse. I may understand that to some this music may sound too primitive or too slow, but this is death metal I like. Asphyx rules and so does "Last One On Earth".
Best tracks: "M.S. Bismarck", "Last One On Earth", "Streams of Ancient Wisdom"
Final rate: 94 / 100