ASPHYXIATE is a rather fresh-faced bunch of lads hailing from Belgium, and Progressive Death Metal is their weapon of choice. After existing since 2006, they've finally gotten around to recording their debut-album, which was apparently both recorded and mixed in the guitarist's bedroom. In other words, "Ominous Depth" is a real DIY-effort.
It's pretty much a given that unless you have an expensive studio set up in your sleeping quarters, anything recorded next to a nightstand is going to sound a little flat and muddy. It comes as no surprise then, that this demo is suffering from a severe case of self-produced demo-syndrome, but you can hardly blame them for trying. After all, we're here for the songwriting and performance, not to judge their twisting and turning of knobs, and luckily ASPHYXIATE excels where it counts. With plenty of catchy riffs and hooks, this is both fresh-sounding and technically proficient. The progressive elements are finely implemented without turning into mindless technical-wankery, with interesting song-structures that keep a consistent quality throughout the 19 minutes of playtime.
All the elements of a solid recording are present on this demo, and with a studio-budget I can see these guys reaching far beyond the boundaries of their home-country. It's obvious that ASPHYXIATE consists of some quite talented musicians, and as far as demos go this is worth a listen even if you're not a huge fan of Progressive stuff.
(Online June 1, 2009)