Dutch Death Metal flagship Asphyx need no introduction, and after having seen the band return at the Party.San Festival in 2007 it was clear, these guys still got it and since then delivered classy old school Death Metal, the brutal way!
“Death…The Brutal way!” and “Deathhammer” were 2 exciting slabs of Death/Doom with ten ton hammers heaviness and a good sense for catchiness always with the throaty remarkable vocals of Martin Van Drunen on the top of it. “Incoming Death”, 4 years later, didn’t grab me like the previous records. Something lacked, Bob Bagchus wasn’t in anymore and lots of things sounded uninspired. 5 years were needed to come back and strike deadly with “Necroceros”, a beast of an album that shows Asphyx in top form, blending Doom and Death in near perfection together.
Stefan Hüskens shows that he indeed is a great drummer, adopting the style needed for Asphyx but throwing a bit more of variation and skills in execution right from the beginning with “The Sole Cure Is Death” a good mixture of skank beats forward driven face punch and some mid-tempo section to make it groove. “Molten Black Earth” and “Mount Skull” then show the top moments of this record with RIFFS! They don’t miss here at all. The transitions between faster and slower sections are perfect and the lower tuned guitars work perfect, showing a wider range in dynamics and atmosphere than ever. The latter being one of their best songs in years, heavy, catchy, melodic, yet dark somehow, a reduced version of Hypocrisy in terms of groove and melodies, highlight!
“Knights Templar Stand” continues where “Mount Skull” left, the rhythms, the atmosphere, the Doom induced, the catchiness, all here, some twin melodies included, punkish in its bridges, deadly in it’s overall.
“Three Years Of Famine” is a hymn the Asphyx way, dynamics (clean guitars), melodies (those twin leads !!!), the Dooms side of the spectrum, guitarsolo included, showing no need for high-speed eruptions, this is pure crushing crawling panzer metal! Another outstanding track!
The second half is going to be opened by “Botox Implosion” the necessary speed invasion after such a monolithic track like “Three Years Of Famine”. Skank and bang your head! “In Blazing Oceans” starts lower, heavier, more crushing in a different way, a slow rocking, groovy number, which has it’s great Asphyx-like lead melody in it and the heaviness the band is known for. “The Nameless Elite” was probably the first song I’ve listened from the record If I remember well, and it wasn’t the greatest track on earth when I first heard it. Definitely had to grow on me and it hopefully did, probably thanks to the overall experience of the record, which made me realise and understand what Asphyx were looking for on this record. After some more mid-tempo going for almost the entire first half of the track, the guys start to accelerate and make the song ride on before turning back to the groove machine once more.
The last 2 track of the record, “Yield or Die” and the title track “Necroceros”, are the logic steps in this record, the first being raising fist hymn for all bangers, a real live smasher for sure. “Necroceros” itself, like a title track should be, is another highlight and Death/Doom hymn, the Asphyx way. It first starts with an eerie intro and some tribal like drumming, Martin’s voice screaming “Necroceros”, the rumbling bass and at last the guitars kicking in for a really smashing necrotic Doom carcass, the feasting undead, the lurker in the shadows (in short: just pure darkness and death man). A really entrancing and brutal heavy track, love it!
The downtuned guitars never worked so well with Asphyx. Some may want more the standard tunings from earlier records (probably standard E or D, not sure), but “Necroceros” needs this ultra-heavy tuning.
The production: Fat, clear with the typical Asphyx guitarsound, for today’s standards the way Asphyx should sound, props to Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann for the mix and mastering.
The artwork: Killer! Great morbid vibe, nice details, like this one way more than “Incoming Death”.
So, to me, this is a killer, smaller “comeback” after “Incoming Death”, putting Asphyx back on where they belong, on top amongst the best Death Metal bands which doesn’t need blast beats. (DPF)