Reviewed: February 1999
Released: 1998, Century Media
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Asphyx fans pay attention! This debut release by Soulburn features ex-Asphyx members Eric Daniels (guitars) and Bob Bagchus (drums)! Hell yes…the return of the death-doom duo! Soulburn is completed by Wannes Gubbels of Pentacle on bass and vocals. If you are a diehard Asphyx fan, then you must own this album. It sounds similar to classic Asphyx in many ways, which should be obvious. And Wannes’ vocals aren’t too far removed from Martin van Drunen’s. Soulburn is just a tad short of being as heavy-sounding as Asphyx was, but the power is still there and the production is crisp and clear.
This album has all of the classic death-doom trademarks. The short yet spooky intro “Enter the Flames of Soulburn” starts the album off in classic death-doom tradition. But then the opening chords to “Hellish Entrapment” kick in and you know good old Eric is back to kick your ass! You can’t help but bang your head as the heavy-as-hell power chords pummel your skull. “Hymn of the Forsaken” is a slower song that reminds me of Asphyx’s Crush the Cenotaph EP. This is one of the best tracks. But the best song is “Storming Hordes”, which has a nice twisted vocal intro backed up by Eric’s traditional, slow, solitary guitar cry for help. The main riff is a speedy, wicked one, which goes perfect with Bob’s mid-paced, double bass drumming. “Throne of Hatred” has a great slow part that features Eric, once again, going into a slow, dark, cold, gloomy guitar lead. And so does “Behold the Funeral Candle”. Ah yessss…
If you liked Asphyx (not including God Cries), then you should definitely check this out. If not, then at least buy your sorry ass The Rack and go from there. Although this album kicks ass, I’ve given it a 3.5 because I do think the Asphyx material was better. And Soulburn really doesn’t show any progression. But they’re one of the few authentic “classic death metal” bands around.
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