Aphyxion - AftermathBefore I write this review, let me educate the non-American readers of this fine website about the amazing about-face that happens this time of year. Just one day before I finalized this review, our nation celebrated Thanksgiving, a day where we all sit around the table, eat turkey, unsuccessfully avoid all conversations about politics, and above all give thanks for what we have. I mention this because 24 hours later, a phenomenon known as Black Friday began. A day where all promises of thanks and gratefulness are dashed. People clog up malls and stores, beating the shit out of each other for expensive phones, crazy gadgets, and even $20,000 bottles of beer served in a squirrel’s carcass. What’s this got to do with the review at hand? Well, Denmark’s Aphyxion has been championed as “melodic death metal saviors” by the press, and on their second full-length, Aftermath, well… you can see where this is going, can’t you?

But first, the good. “Dark Stains on Ivory” bursts forth with youthful energy and some clearly enunciated growls by vocalist Michael Vahl. What comes next, though, lies the problem. The verse is carried by a repetitious chug of the open low string on the guitars, with only the chorus possessing any sort of melody whatsoever. A synthesizer, not the guitars, provides that melody, as the guitarists perform little more than breakdowns and open-string chugs. In fact, all of the pluses that Mark Z. touched upon in the review of their debut, Earth Entangledare jettisoned almost entirely. That said, the band’s youthful energy propels the song forward, giving the song a much-needed breath of life.

And they need this breath of life, because Aftermath is largely forgettable, and those unforgettable moments border on the hysterically bad. The ESL lyrics consist of self-empowerment clichés, such as on “A Part of the Solution” (“Prepare for the upcoming riot/hear my words, your life has expired/your addictions is society’s rules/hear my words, YOU’RE A BLOOD-FUCKING FOOL!”), and “Same Kind of Different” (“So get this fucking straight/we are in this together, never alone/you are flesh, I AM BONE!”). “A Part of the Solution” also possesses one of the two guitar melodies on the entire length of Aftermath. The other, “As We Blacken the Sky,” stands out due to a reduced tempo. But overall, this album veers more toward deathcore territory than melodic death metal. Aftermath revels in one-note breakdowns so much that Xzibit would be impressed with the amount of breakdowns-within-breakdowns. In fact, I prematurely gave thanks that Aftermath lacked the genre’s pre-requisite bass drop, until 1:50 into “The Nature of Mankind” happened, and I not-so-silently wept into my cranberry sauce.

Aphyxion 2016
Aftermath’s
production feels manufactured and robotic. The drums sound mechanical, and the bass, other than the aforementioned drop, is heard and not felt. Even if it came with a robust production, Aftermath suffers from too little variation and very little melody. Basically, this is Heaven Shall Burn without the variety or Mors Principium Est without the riffs and solos. When you’re championed as “melodic death metal saviors” and there’s no melody except for what your synth is programmed to play, that’s never a good sign. And while Mors Principium Est utilized a synth player in the past, they also backed it up with great songs.

Aphyxion are young and energetic, so hopefully they can work on their songwriting skills on the next go-around. Aftermath promised a new dawn for melodic death metal, and instead dashed them with simplistic riffing, banal songwriting, and very little in terms of melody. You know, that thing that makes melodic death metal what it is. And speaking of which, I’m going back to Dawn of the 5th Era for my modern melodic death metal fix.

 


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Prime Collective
Website: facebook.com/aphyxion
Releases Worldwide: December 2nd, 2016

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  • Dethjesta

    Seems like the band have been reading a little too much of their own press and have therefore tailored their music to attempt to meet this expectation.

  • Pimpolho

    This is like the more unconfortable version of Thanksgiving, Thvnksgiving. Seriously, that cover is making me mad. >:(

    • Grymm

      Technically, it’s Thvksgvvvng, and you’re welcvme.

      • Pimpolho

        That’s just a moaning sound.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      If you were to switch the Kvlt “V” for the regular ass “U” then sign me up for Thunksgiving. Whatever it is. Sounds fun.

  • Reese Burns

    Above all I wanna thank the reviewer for reminding me about ‘5th Era, haven’t listened to that record in a good while.

    • Hammersmith

      Throw on …And Death Said Live while you are it!

      • Grymm

        Don’t forget The Unborn or Liberation = Termination!

        • Hammersmith

          Inhumanity also!

  • Tyr

    Oh please. The press loves them because they’re young, clean cut and their t shirts are color coordinated. Other than that, nothing about this stands out.

    • basenjibrian

      They look like a staff team at a big box discount store. If the shirts were blue they could be Best Buy Geek Squad clerks.

      • Tyr

        LOL…so true.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        All they need is a store logo on their shirts!

    • Grymm

      As a former tech guy at a big-chain outlet… nailed it!

  • Hammersmith

    Two guys have abnormally long necks, and two other ones have no necks at all.

    • Kronos

      Can’t unsee.

    • herrschobel

      thanks for mentioning that…my day will be great from now on ! :-)

    • basenjibrian

      Black Metal Swans?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      So in average they all have regular necks! (voice of reason within my head screams: that’s not how math works!)

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Despite its simplicity, that picture screams “badly photoshopped!”

  • DrChocolate

    Ahhh…yes, Audio Vanilla. Bland, inoffensive, lack of complexity – nobody really hates it, but no one really says, “Yes, I’d like some more of that please.” Slot this record next to Jungle Rot, One Republic, recent Amon Amarth, 99% of current country, and 21 Pilots.

    • Reese Burns

      I disprove your theory by actively hating 21 Pilots. Other than that though, you nailed it.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        “Heathens” is legitimately the worst song of 2016.

        • Grymm

          Lena Dunham, Corey Feldman, and Le Tigre would all love to have a word with you about having the worst song of 2016 (although “Heathens” does, indeed, suck)…

    • basenjibrian

      Maybe its organic fair trade Vanilla with artisanal spirits?

      • Grymm

        Gluten-free?

        • basenjibrian

          and Vegan

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I love how you managed to place Jungle Rot, One Republic, recent Amon Amarth and 99% of current country in the same box. Even though I disagree with you on Jungle Rot and Amon Amarth being Vanilla. Jungle Rot is meat and potatoes and recent Amon Amarth is “more of the same just not as good”.

  • AndySynn

    The term “Melodic Death Metal” really has become bastardised almost beyond salvation at this point, hasn’t it?

    • Grymm

      It really has.

      There really isn’t anything melodic on here. In fact, Meshuggah uses 2-3 more notes on their breakdowns than these guys do.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        There really isn’t anything Melodic, Death or Metal on here.

  • Mark Z

    I just HAD to write about how much I loved the lack of electronics on their first album. This album is like a middle finger to that review. Nice writeup, definitely not something I’m going to be wasting time with.

  • Thatguy

    I’m starting to formulate a theory of band photos. I tend to look at the photo before I read the review or listen to the embedded song and form an opinion on whether I am likely to like the music.

    Right again. Looked at photo. Thought WTF! Listened to the song. Forgettable. The review confirms my opinion (so by definition is a good review, thanks). It’s not just the necks…

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      So you also have that theory I have that whoever agrees with me is right? ;)

      • Thatguy

        Not a theory, mate, an empirically provable fact! Except it’s me.

  • Kevin Taylor

    Dawn of the 5th Era is great, but The Unborn is phenomenal(they need a remaster on that album BAD!) and shit, thinking about it, I think we’re due for a new Mors album soon hopefully.

    • Grymm

      There is a preview on YouTube for it, and from the sounds of it, it’s like a modern Unborn.

      Can’t. Fucking. Wait.

      • Kevin Taylor

        Oh snap, dude, this sounds amazing so far. Definitely got Unborn DNA on this. Shaping up to be their strongest.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    huh, by americans you mean the people who live in the united states, or all of us who live in the America continent that we are also Americans? i never understand how that works

    • tomasjacobi

      I have no idea what Grymm meant, but I don’t see how you can call yourself an American unless you live in, or are a citizen of, The United States of America.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Being that America is a continent that spans from Nunavut, Canada at the northenmost to Cape Froward in Chile at the southernmost, anyone being a citizen of the countries contained within such area are Americans, just like the Swiss people are Europeans despite Switzerland not being part of the European Union.

        In Latin American Spanish citizens of The United States of America are called “United staters” rather than Americans.

        Most likely that’s what Nahuel is talking about and most likely you are a citizen of The United States of America.

        • tomasjacobi

          I’m a citizen of Denmark which is a country in Europe.
          Maybe it’s different when speaking Latin American Spanish, but when speaking the sentence “I am an American” in English I’m sure anyone hearing that sentence would take it to mean that the person is a citizen of The United States of America.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            So you’re both Danish and European. I am a citizen of Venezuela which is a country in America (the continent) so I am both Venezuelan and American.
            But it makes no sense in English! So in English I must say I am Venezuelan and South American.
            But I get your point.

    • Grymm

      Yep, US citizens.

      Canada has its own Canada earlier, I believe.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    the cover is kinda cool tough it seems a collage of stuff we already saw

  • dedseed1

    Dude on the far right looks like he’s at the point of get to a bathroom immediately or shit himself.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Either I’m getting old or these kids nowadays have no fucking clue what Metal is all about.

    • sir_c

      Those kids nowadays don’t know how to play themselves some proper Beatles song now, do they… ?

  • sir_c

    Better listen me some Asphyx now to get rid of the foul taste of this abomination.