Asschapel – Total Destruction: 1999-2006

Posted: 26 June 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , , ,

Southern Lord – 15th July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

With a name like Asschapel, they were never going to trouble the mainstream, although stranger things have of course happened. And producing the ferocious din that they did, regardless of their name, Asschapel were still never going to bother the mainstream. But during their lifespan, Asschapel made an impact, and are equally noteworthy for the fact that following their demise, various members moved on to the likes of Pelican, The Swan King, Tijuana Goat Ride, Hans Condor, amongst others, enhancing the band’s legacy retrospectively.

This legacy was given a boost last year with the reissue of their cassette-only Chapel of Ass demo cassette, and now Southern Lord (who else?) are putting out a mammoth compendium containing their entire catalogue. So here it is: a release (double vinyl and digital) containing a mighty 31 tracks of full-throttle, screaming, raging nihilism, on which the bulk of the song clocks in at under two minutes.

Hailing from Nashville, the output of the five guys who were Asschapel couldn’t have been less country in their leanings: as Total Destruction documents, they were prime purveyors of high-octane, uptempo thrash riffery, underpinned by brutal bass and ballistic drums. Their bio reads like a legend, recounting how ‘over the course of seven years [they] played all over the Western world, leaving in their wake crippled vans with wheels flying off, shattered heels, broken noses, torn out nipple rings, maxed out credit cards, on-stage arguments, collapsed house show ceilings, everyone’s clothes falling off at the show, and more, while impressively avoiding search and arrest from the authorities.’ Small wonder they imploded after seven years.

Still, they managed to release an album and three EPs during their career, and into each release distilled a violent, venomous fury paired with a kinetic energy that still sounds fierce over a decade later. The song titles give an indication of what Asschapel are about: ‘Carcass Bloody Carcass’; ‘The Sledgehammer Assault’; ‘Mutilated Black Carcass’; ‘Burn the Eyes’; ‘Let’s Kill’; Dismember the Memory’; ‘Rotting the Body’. Gore-fixated, violent and dark, the music is the perfect reflection of such bloody, brutal obsessions, and this is indeed gnarly. Primitive, uncompromising and brutal as fuck, Total Destruction reminds what thrash can be at its most uncompromising, undiluted and antagonistic best.



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