Archives of the Dead part V: Asphyxia – Conflagration (demo 1990)
Recording line up: Eamonn Farrell (guitars), Norman Hunt (drums), Vinnie O'Brien (guitars), David 'George' Thomas (vocals / bass)
I have never heard of this band (Asphyxia) until recently and I don’t know whether I would really bother to check them out, if I haven’t found out that Asphyxia is actually a band, which transformed into Morphosis in 1992. And obviously Morphosis is more familiar to me, as they’re probably the most interesting Irish band, along with Primordial and maybe Abaddon Incarnate. The beginning of Asphyxia goes back to the mid 80’s when Vinnie O'Brien and David Thomas started playing together and formed their first band, but it wasn’t until 1990, when they’ve released their first – and last under the name Asphyxia – demo. “Conflagration” is a three tracks plus intro demo, with about 25 minutes on the clock, so there’s enough portion of deadly musical archives to satisfy the hunger for something from the past. And I really recommend you Asphyxia, as their music was a classic and maybe typical for the time, but good quality thrashing death metal.
I must say that I like what Asphyxia did on this demo. Their songs were quite lengthy, with seven to nine minutes long tracks, what for sure wasn’t so common back in the old days, but somehow the Irish band managed to fill them with enough interesting riffs and arrangements to avoid any boredom or monotony. They provided some nice riffs and a variety of tempos, from slower to fast thrashing stuff... And I mention thrash again, as it is debatable whether “Conflagration” was more influenced by the German and US thrash metal or the US and European death metal… I guess it is almost like 50 / 50 affair. There are some parts, which remind me Incubus (US), as well as Mercyless, Massacra, Merciless and Messiah (the use of bands with names on M is purely unintentional here hehe)… On top of which there’re the harsh, screaming vocals, which are quite close to Mille Petroza and Rogga Petterson. When I listen to “Conflagration” it is almost impossible to resist those sounds. And even if nowadays such music may feel very archaic, especially with the production like this one, then I am sure that back in 1990 this demo must have impressed maniacs a lot. Anyway, nowadays it is still a nice listening experience. For sure Asphyxia was creating something more original, with these lengthy and more structures songs, crazy guitar leads, etc. If there’s anything what really disturbs me in their music are such calm fragments as the opening theme of “Conflagration”, which just sounds bad and weak.
Oh, I must add also that the songs “Conflagration” and “Symptoms of Suffering” has been re-recorded by Morphosis back in 1995 on their “Malicious Malfiguration” demo and then “Conflagration” was again recorded for "Rise of the Bastard Deities" album (in completely rearranged, fastened and shortened version). It is nice to know that Morphosis never forgot their roots. Obviously on “Malicious Malfiguration” these songs sounded better, tighter and more aggressive, faster and more brutal, but at the same time they completely lacked that archaic thrash / death metal feeling of the original Asphyxia recording. Anyway, “Conflagration” demo of Asphyxia is really nice, maybe not the most thrilling of all death / thrash metal demos of all time, but a solid one and worthy being exhumed now, 23 years after its original release.
Final rate: 70/100