One of Holland's first extreme metal outfits, Asphyx emerged in the late 1980s and proceeded to unleash an unrelenting amalgam of death and doom metal. The band spent a considerable chunk of the next decade and beyond tearing up the metal underground and cycling through personnel before finding some stability with the release of 2009's Death...The Brutal Way. Subsequent efforts like Incoming Death (2016) and Necroceros (2021) saw the group, which by this time included no original members, in full command of their uncompromising death-doom sound.
Asphyx was founded in Overijssel in 1987 by drummer Bob Bagchus and guitarist Tonny Brookhuis. The duo soon enlisted second guitarist Eric Daniels and bassist/vocalist Chuck Colli and recorded the Enter the Domain demo. Colli left the fold shortly thereafter and was replaced by Theo Loomans who appeared on the 1989 demo Crush the Cenotaph. Brookhuis was the next to depart and the remaining trio headed into the studio to record the band's debut studio LP Embrace the Death, which due to label issues wouldn't see release for several years.
Asphyx, which now included ex-Pestilence vocalist Martin van Drunen, signed with Century Media Records in 1990 and proceeded to release a steady flow of albums and EPs, including the Mutilating Process EP, 1991's The Rack, and 1993's Last One on Earth. None of these came anywhere near to breaking the band out of the death metal underground, however, and the disgruntled members of Asphyx chose to split up around this time. Van Drunen temporarily joined (but never recorded with) England's Bolt Thrower and got involved with a number of other projects, but Daniels saw fit to record one final eponymous Asphyx album (with vocalist/bassist Ron Van Pol and drummer Sander Van Hoof) before joining Bagchus in a new band called Soulburn. Strangely, the latter would then "return the favor," when he formed a new version of Asphyx (with vocalist/bassist Theo Loomans and guitarist Ronny Vanderwey) and recorded 1996's God Cries -- that same year saw Century Media release the band's 1990 debut, Embrace the Death. The following year Asphyx ceased operations once again, and in 1998 tragedy struck when Loomans was killed after a train hit his car. In 2000 Soulburn (consisting of Daniels, Bagchus, and vocalist/bassist Wannes Gubbels) figured "what the hell" and proceeded to release their latest album, On the Wings of Inferno, under the old Asphyx banner, but threw in the towel shortly after the record's release.
Van Drunen, Gubbels, Paul Baayens, and Bagchus reformed Asphyx in 2007 as a live entity, and eventually found their way back into the studio. The acclaimed Death...The Brutal Way appeared in 2009 and marked a new era of relative stability for the long-running group. The similarly well-received Deathhammer arrived two years later and would be the last outing for sole original member Bagchus, who left the group the following year. New drummer Stefan Hüskens joined the band for 2016's Incoming Death, and in 2021 Asphyx issued their tenth full-length effort, the punitive Necroceros. ~ James Christopher Monger