Asphyx - Necroceros



Key Facts

Country: 🇳🇱

Genre: Death/Doom Metal

Release Date: 22nd January 2021

Record Label(s): Century Media Records


Band Members

Martin van Drunen - Vocals

Paul Baayens - Guitars

Alwin Zuur - Bass

Stefan Hüskens - Drums


Asphyx - The Nameless Elite


Review
Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): The Nameless Elite, Botox Implosion, The Sole Cure Is Death, Molten Black Earth, Three Years Of Famine

Dutch death/doom pioneers Asphyx are back with crushing new album Necroceros. After listening to a few of the singles, there was a fair bit of hype surrounding this album in death metal circles, and it does not disappoint! A totally brain destroying outing from veterans of the scene. It's been 5 years since Asphyx last graced us with an album, and 2016's Incoming Death was going to be a hard act to follow, but Necroceros has made short work of that without hesitation. If anything Necroceros contains more death, more doom and more Dutch force in it than 2016's Incoming Death and infamous 2012 release Deathhammer combined. So, sit back and get gut punched with big riffs and thunderous blast beats. 

Musically the album has the signature Asphyx sound, but it sounds more sophisticated, concise and cohesive. By that it feels like the chaos seems more organised, which is something that has been evolving and developing over the last few albums, and now packs a considerable punch. With this though, it hasn't leant itself to much experimentation, as many of the song structures seem to be fairly similar to what we have become accustomed to. Stubbornly faithful to the Asphyx formula, can lead to some parts of the album feeling a bit monochromatic. That being said there are still some solid riffs in there, and the transitions between old school death metal and thundering doom are pulled off expertly. The lyrical concepts are taking shots at all sorts of vain, incomprehensible and grim people to this backdrop of equally grim, doom laden riffs. One song that does show an excursion outside the Asphyx formula is Three Years Of Famine, which contains more melodic leads containing haunting melodies. The biggest surprise from the song was the slow, soft acoustic section which offered up some dynamic contrast. The unfortunate thing is that you're left wanting more of that and it doesn't quite come until the album closer and title track Necroceros comes in. Despite that, it is a good album to thrash around and vent too, with Botox Implosion offering a the grimmest message on the album with its view on cosmetic surgery, the vanity involved with wanting to change your body and it going wrongs. The album opener The Sole Cure Is Death is a mother song worthy of mention, as it opens the album with ballistic energy and has some strong riffs as it's backbone. The majority of the album is blunt but effective, straightforward, no nonsense, balls out death metal. Although the lack of leads made this a more rhythmically aggressive and groove laden album, it does feel like some areas would have benefitted from some. Overall, the album is a strong album, it won't add anything new to death metal, is still enjoyable and consistent.  

The production is probably the main aspect that helps this album stand out. Gone are the days of chaotic, fizzing distortion albums, and in their place is a cleaner, more surgical delivery of their music. This in itself is quite fresh, as it puts the riffs under a magnifying glass and unleashes a new perspective on them which is full of appreciation for their craftsmanship. The mix retains a lot of the aggression and rawness that Asphyx are known for, giving the album a significant energy whilst still sounding clean and sharp. The guitar tones, are contradictorily, cleanly distorted, which is a contrast to previous albums where they were allowed to fizz and crackle to fill out the sonic space. Even so they pack a punch with the full weight of the distorted bass behind it. The bass locks in with kick effectively, forming a solid and gigantic low end. The kick has a perfect mix of thump and click, which helps the bass build the foundations for the mid-range guitars to sound massive. The snare has a nice amount of reverb on it that helps it stand out as it snaps into the void. The cymbals ring out clearly through the mix, which adds a glimmering, mesmerising effect to the clean section in Three Years Of Famine. Overall the mix is epic and helps highlight significant riffs and movements, although you do miss a bit of the chaotic fuzz and fizzle, it is quite invigorating to hear the band in this light. 

Whilst the album is strong, consistent and enjoyable, there isn't anything glaringly new or different. So, if you want some old school, straight to the balls death metal, Asphyx have got you covered!

Asphyx - Necroceros

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