Tuesday, 19 January 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Asphyx, "Necroceros"

By: Richard Maw


Album Type: Full Length

Date Released: 22/01/2021

Label: Century Media Records 

“Necroceros” CD//DD//LP track listing:


1. The Sole Cure is Death
2. Molten Black Earth
3. Mount Skull
4. Knights Templar Stand
5. Three Years of Famine
6. Botox Implosion
7. In Blazing Oceans
8. The Nameless Elite
9. Yield or Die
10. Necroceros


The Review:


Asphyx are back with this, another feral stab of doom-death. Van Drunen's wail is intact and as rough and ready as ever. The production is as gnarly as you might expect from these Dutch death masters. Asphyx have had a pretty solid career with a death metal classic as their debut (The Rack”) and then “Deathhammer” being a real late period highlight. Their last outing, Incoming Death was good and punk infused, but this is the band back to their best.


The songs are pretty urgent and the band sounds focused and vicious; the riffs are stellar, the slower passages invoke Bolt Thrower at their doomiest and the whole effect is one that is really rather majestic. If you want to sample the wares here, just go for the opener, “The Sole Cure Is Death”. It's Asphys, through and through- as are the remaining nine tracks here. As usual, there are plenty of those aforementioned slower passages and, again as usual, the band don't break type by doing any silly blasting passages or trying to go for a more American sound or any such folly.


I've always been very fond of Asphyx because of their idiosyncratic sound; I view them as a kind of Euro-Obituary in that they stand out and stand apart from the others. “Mount Skull”, for instance, starts slow but gets up to thrash pacing with some nasty lead work and truly neck snapping riffage before... dropping back down again. There are plenty of post-five minute songs here, as well as a smattering of more urgent tracks but it's the listener who win as each song has its own characters and the band, thankfully, have gone for a finely crafted album approach rather than front loading with the most immediate songs and then just tailing off (naming no other death metal bands, of course....).


The subject matter, well, it's death metal. Not entirely, though. You get a song about the Knights Templar here, a little dark sci fi fantasy there- it's varied enough for a band at this stage in their career for sure. The sound, incidentally, is superb. Probably the band's best production yet in terms of clarity and ferocity. The whole band sounds like a well oiled machine (obviously a tank- what else?!) and whether it be the straightforward deathly joy of “Botox Implosion” or the more measured “Three Years of Famine”, they are never less than deadly in their delivery.


Of course, fifty minutes of this level of heaviness is a lot to take in but the record is varied and brings a fair amount of light and shade (or shades of black, maybe) that makes the album work as a whole. There is no way you could say that “The Nameless Elite”, say, is the same as “Yield or Die”. Asphyx have always been quirky and this record is no different.


The title track is epic in length and scope, allowing the beastly bass tone to be heard clearly at the start. Just like that, the record is over. The title, subject matter and delivery are all very appropriate for the current times we find ourselves stumbling through. It is hard to say where “Necroceros” will sit in their overall discography rankings, but I'm confident it will be right up there. It is certainly better than “Death... The Brutal Way” and “Incoming Death”. “Deathhammer” is a personal favourite of mine... but this has all the elements that you could possibly want from the band and has the production, vitality and songs to challenge anything they have put out. Truly, Asphyx are the band for these times.


“Necroceros” is available HERE


Band info: facebook