Asinhell
Impii Hor

I don’t know how many Volbeat fans there are dwelling in our dungeon, but if there are any, it may please them to know this is frontman Michael Poulsen’s return to death metal. “Return,” your dumb ass questions incredulously? Yes, return. If you’re unfamiliar with his band Dominus’s early material, I’d recommend familiarizing yourself, as it’s top-tier old-school death metal. So, with that being said, this is the debut of his new death metal band, Asinhell.

Michael brings along with him Mark Grewe from Morgoth on vocals and Morten Toft Hansen of Raunchy on drums. The pedigree is certainly there, but the most important question is whether they can bring the heaviness, the riffs, and the songs.

In short, the answer is “yes.” The second song, the five-plus minute “Inner Sancticide,” with its easily repeatable chorus proves it. Its whirling, churning opening riff paves the way for Mark’s gravelly (think Van Drunen or Willetts) delivery. Some may say the chorus itself is simple and perhaps repeated too many times. To those, I would say; “Okay, yeah, maybe you’re right,” but it’s catchy and will get stuck in your head, which is something I would fully expect from Michael.

Hansen’s drum performance stands out on one of the best overall tracks, “Trophies.” It begins fast and furious but unfortunately without Michelle Rodriguez. This track has a plot, though. Take for example the production on the drums, which makes it sound like, you know, a drum kit. The snare has a hard-hitting quality, which sometimes makes it sound like a kick. That Raunchy bastard puts on a show. Otherwise, the deeper, close-to-spoken word section over 3 minutes in, ushers a heavy ass riff I think they should have let breathe more.

The final track I’ll mention is the title track, and although it’s not technically the last one… it is. It’s a solid 5, churning minutes. Not quite plodding, not quite D-beat. There is a chorus, but it’s brief. The last minute or so is the best section because of the tease of a breakdown, which then slows to a doomy crawl with an oozing solo.

If you’re not convinced to take a listen because of preconceived notions, let me answer some questions. Firstly, this has no resemblance to Poulsen’s main band. If you were thinking you’d get some rockabilly with your death metal, it’s not happening. I must admit slight disappointment as this is simply a death metal record. Good, but not must hear quality. I was hoping for some experimentation along the lines of Dominus, but that was not to be. However, this is a fun old-school slab of solid death metal. Not world-beating, and not on the same tier as the recent Flesher release for example, but it will still give you a cure for your itch.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 4th, 2023

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