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Biography

The highly influential ASPHYX was a leading force on the European Death Metal scene, forging a path for a swathe of bands to follow in their wake. ASPHYX date back to 1987 when the band was formed in Oldenzal by drummer Bob Bagchus with former members Tony Brookhuis on guitar and Chuck (a.k.a. Christian Colli) handling vocals and bass. The fledgling band took its cue from international pioneers, at first performing cover versions such as DEATH´s 'Infernal Death', CELTIC FROST´s 'Nocturnal Fear' and MAYHEM´s 'Necrolust'. Soon getting to grips with composing original material, the band swiftly cut the rehearsal demo 'Carnage Remains' then issued the first demo entitled 'Enter The Domain', recorded that December.

Replacing Colli briefly in March 1989 with Benno Kremers then with Theo Loomans, the following year the band expanded from a trio to a quartet that April with the introduction of second guitarist Eric Daniels. ASPHYX's second tape, 'Crush The Cenotaph', saw issue in July, this release garnering the band favour across the international underground and selling over 5,000 copies in the process. Meantime, maintaining their roots, both Bagchus and Loomans operated the HELLHAMMER tribute concern EVOKER. A third effort, 1989's two track 7" 'Mutilating Process', gained distribution via Nuclear Blast Records subdivision Gore Records. Brookhuis left Asphyx after these sessions. In 1990 ASPHYX's fame was such that a gig in Hardenberg saw PARADISE LOST as support act.

Frontman Martin Van Drunen split from Dutch techno-thrashers PESTILENCE in late 1990 due to personality clashes within the band and, shortly after his departure, he hooked up with ASPHYX replacing Theo Loomans. ASPHYX went into the studio to record a projected debut album for the UK based CMFT Productions to be entitled 'Embrace The Death'. However, due to record company financial problems these tapes never saw a commercial release. Nevertheless, unofficial tapes soon circulated amongst the Metal underground, bolstering the band's standing.

The band's second album attempt, and what was to be their debut album,'The Rack', released in April 1991, was recorded on a minimalist budget in a deliberate attempt to achieve a deliberately primative sound. Worldwide sales approaching 30'000 copies were boosted by a European tour alongside ENTOMBED, proving ASPHYX had chosen the right path.

'Crush The Cenotaph', issued in 1992, was a mini-album produced by Waldemar Sorychta and containing reworks of pre-Van Drunen era material and live tracks. Full-length album 'Last One On Earth', laid down at Harrows Studios, arrived that October. Live work comprised an extensive European tour with BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER.

Clearly the tour was more enjoyable for Van Drunen than most as, clearly impressed by each other, the bassist / vocalist duly joined BOLT THROWER in 1994. Van Drunen had also made time outside the ASPYHX camp to guest as lead vocalist for Swedish Death Metal band COMECON, appearing on their 1993 album 'Converging Conspiracies'.

The revised line-up of ASPHYX thus emerged, comprised new vocalist / bassist Ron Van Pol, guitarist Eric Daniels and drummer Sander Van Hoof for an eponymous album of July 1994, having been crafted at Stage One Studio in Bühne, Germany with Andy Classen of HOLY MOSES behind the desk. Further ructions hit the ASPHYX line-up in 1995 as Daniels briefly joined ETERNAL SOLSTICE and original vocalist Theo Loomans returned. Loomans contributed bass and vocals to the 'God Cries' album of May 1996.

The 'Embrace The Death' sessions finally found a release in 1996 through Century Media with extra tracks from the 'Mutilating Process' 7' single.

Despite the constant line-up changes ASPHYX continued to build on their popularity in the Death Metal market with consistant album sales. However, the band, made up of Daniels, Bagchus and erstwhile PENTACLE vocalist / bassist Wannes Gubbels, changed titles to SOULBURN for 1998's 'Feeding On Angels' album. Tragically Loomans was killed the same year. An open verdict was recorded, but the musician had been killed in his car, hit by a train whilst stationary across rail tracks.

SOULBURN invariably included such ASPHYX classics as Abomination Echoes', 'Vermin' and 'The Sickening Dwell' in their live set and once rehearsals got underway for a further album the band members realised the new material was sounding much more in an ASPHYX vein, so duly reverted back to their former title.

A 2000 album, 'On The Wings Of Inferno' recorded at at Harrow Production Studios in Losser, found ASPHYX, back to their more familiar band as a mark of respect to Loomans, as a duo of Wannes Gubbles, Eric Daniel and Bog Bagchus. However, after its release ASPHYX announced their retirement.

Martin Van Drunen resurfaced in mid 2002 debuting his new act DEATH BY DAWN on the European live circuit. Early 2005 found Martin Van Drunen and erstwhile PESTILENCE bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling collaborating with KING LOCUST guitarist Niels Drieënhuizen in a new band entitled PROJEKT TABUN. The trio entered Studio Het Lab in Schaarsbergen to put down initial recordings.

From Beyond Productions released a limited edition vinyl variant of debut 'Embrace The Death' in June 2005. The re-issue added liner notes from drummer Bob Bagchus and new artwork.

In January 2007 it would be learned that Martin Van Drunen had joined forces with THANATOS guitarists Stephan Gebédi and Paul Baayens, GOREFEST drummer Ed Warby and former HOUWITSER bass player Theo van Eekelen in a new band unit.

ASPHYX announced a full blown reformation, comprising Martin van Drunen on vocals, Wannes Gubbels on bass and vocals, Paul Baayens on guitar and Bob Bagchus on the drums, in 2007. The quartet re-debuted live at the 'Party.San' festival in Germany. ASPHYX also performed at the 1st December Arnmem 'Metal Meeting' event.

In January 2008 the group cut tracks at Harrow Studios for a 7" vinyl EP, 'Death The Brutal Way', via Iron Pegasus Records. The single included the brand new title track plus a cover version of CELTIC FROST's 'Os Abysmi Vel Daath'. By July the band had tracked eight new songs for an album to be released through Century Media Records.

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