European death militia Asphyx pulverized San Diego’s Brick By Brick for the band’s first show ever in the area. Their latest tour comprised only six west coast dates which made each concert exclusive. Joining in support were Skeletal Remains, Gravehill, and Defixion—all of whom performed strongly. Defixion’s set was concise. As the night’s first band, Defixion laid down brutal vocals delivered by Lurid Memory frontman Oscar Padilla accompanied by an ensemble of technically proficient musicians. The local four-piece possessed plenty of stage movement and are sure to continue improving as they go.

      Underworld enthusiasts Gravehill played afterwards in a set that was strong as it was short. Even with their limited time, the hellish quintet delivered punishing riffs in their trad/death brand of heavy metal. Guitarists Hell Messiah and Eldehelm never let up from their fast-picking fury which was bolstered by the thunderous percussion of Thorgrimm. Vocalist JT Corpse growled and bellowed like an undead mercenary on each track, only to be aided in vigor with bassist Bodybag’s incessant windmilling. Gravehill combines hellish, gruesome imagery and skull-thrashing riffs that was well-received by the audience.

      Fellow southern California death metallers Skeletal Remains acted as direct support for Asphyx’s tour package and instantly proved why they earned their spot. Their style in the vein of early-Pestilence worship made songs from both “Condemned to Misery” and “Beyond the Flesh” translated well live. Even so, they soon grew repetitive in the 40-minute slot. Perhaps Skeletal could benefit from more on-stage banter and movement. Either way, songs like “Euphoric Bloodfeast” and “Traumatic Existence” were undoubtedly cool and quickly got the crowd moving.

      Asphyx promptly opened with “Vermin,” the band’s volatile opening track from their first album “The Rack.” Instantly, heads began to thrash and bodies began to convulse amidst Martin van Drunen’s titanic death bellows. The iconic quartet tore through tracks like “Deathhammer,” and “Scorbutics” to build an uncompromisingly punishing setlist. Asphyx’s behemoth studio production maintained its aural magnitude at Brick By Brick, undoubtedly dazzling those in attendance.

      The Dutch doom dealers presented death metal the brutal way in an electrifying performance. This, coupled with the great turnout resulted in an evening that made its mark for the die-hards in San Diego.

*Thank you to Karila at Metal Life Magazine for the photos*

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