Asphyx
Necroceros

Death metal legends Asphyx are now four albums into their reunion, with Necroceros being the fourth since 2009s Death…The Brutal Way, one of the more successful reunions of recent memory.

Now, like many reunions from yore, this isn’t the original line up with Martin Van Drunen being the sole original member and guitarist Paul Baayens being the only member from the pre reunion days. But the band (new members and all) has done a masterful job of retaining the band’s trademark sound, and that even more so prevalent on Necroceros.

While I enjoyed the other reunion albums, Incoming Death and Deathhammer , Necorceros is by far the best of the post-2009 releases and manages to be the most classic Asphyx sounding album of the 4, while also managing to add some as yet not heard melody to Asphyx, paint peeling death-doom dirges. Also, Necroceros is the ‘cleanest’ sounding album, switching from Dan Swano mixing and mastering to Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann, who is more known for working more power metal bands like Ordan Organ, Dragony and Rhapsody of Fire. So the end result is classic Asphyx songwriting rendered with a pristine, polished sound and it’s superb. Asphyx’s rumbling, Bolt Thrower-y warmongering heft is still immense and powerful, just a little less…..rusty.

There are some riffs on Necroceros that are some of the best the band has penned in this era, and the era before even.  Early on you get the pure Bolt Thrower chug of “Molten Black Earth” and the monolithic doomy lope of “Mount Skull”, two standouts in the first 3 tracks. And when Asphyx do deliver one of their molten mid-paced, doomier, riffs (which seem to be more of the focus here) as they have since the days of The Rack, it’s brilliant; as heard again on “In Blazing Oceans ” (with another pummeling Bolt Thrower-ish march), the somber ooze of standout “Three Years of Famine” (where some really nice melancholy melody appears, and maybe the band’s first-ever acoustic bridge?), and the monstrous, closing title track, which ends the album with Asphyx’s most rangy, varied and doomy output, imbuing “The Rack” (still arguably one of the top death metal songs of all time), once more.

But there are still plenty of skin peeling, feral,  acidic, chugging death metal moments to match Van Drunen’s ageless rasp, such as “Botox Explosion”, “Knights Templar Elite”, “The Nameless Elite” and  “Yield or Die” to get your blood pumping, and as he seems to have done for so many years now, and unlike some of his peers, Van Drunen’s pipes are as vicious as ever.

While Asphyx seems to be a sort of Asphyx /Hail of Bullets amalgamation now, they are as good as ever and appear to be keeping their reunion on track to be as good as the band’s first chapter, a long-lasting rarity in today’s scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 1st, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: Kristofor Allred

    Asphyx has never been a band I’d cut and bleed for, so-to-speak, I mean I’ve always dug them, but they’ve never been in my top tier, but I’ll be damned if I don’t keep coming back to this new album… Great stuff!!


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