Veteran Dutch blasters Asphyx return with more vicious doom, death on crushing ‘Necroceros’

There’s a new Asphyx album, and if you’re already a fan of the band, you should be excited. It sounds just like an Asphyx record. There is something to be said for reliability, and for more than three decades now, the Dutch destroyers have been the portrait of consistency, pretty much ensuring listeners they know exactly what they’re getting, and it’s always quality.

“Necroceros” is their 10th full-length album, their first since 2016’s “Incoming Death,” and they sound as savage and hungry as ever, ripping through 10 tracks in 50 minutes. It’s doomy, it’s deadly, and they very much understand what the Asphyx model is, and it’s always awesome to have a fresh dose of their astonishing power. The band—vocalist Martin van Drunen, guitarist Paul Baayens, bassist Alwin Zuur, drummer Stefan Huskens—unloads from the start, piling on war-torn punishment that thrashes hard and feels vital and dangerous. Not sure when shows will be back, but this stuff is going to sound great live, which is yet another thing to look forward to once this shit ends.

“The Sole Cure Is Death” kicks off the record with punches being thrown, van Drunen’s trademark snarl wrapped all over this thing, and a blistering pace that’ll have you diving for the ice packs. Things slow down momentarily before the intensity is dialed back up, and everything ends maniacally. “Molten Black Earth” burns open as menace stomps the earth, van Drunen’s vocals rip flesh from bone, and hammering riffs stampede. The chorus is simple but effective, and the guitar work sticks to your ribs and then breaks them. “Mount Skull” brings doom chugging hard in the way only Asphyx can do, with raspy growls, trudging fury, and a drubbing pace that eats at your injured muscles. Heaviness and relentless speed suddenly arrive as the soloing goes off and scorches, and the back end burns into a pile of ash. “Knights Templar Stand” charges up as van Drunen’s growls scrape a steady storyline, and catchy riffs add muscle to the proceedings. Power bursts keep things wildly aggressive as the drums penetrate, and heavy blasts bury the song in rubble. “Three Years of Famine” begins pouring liquid doom as the growls pull at your eyes, and infectious riffs line up with the bone-crunching heaviness. The track balances moody playing with gnarly mauling, adding a heavy dose of emotion that digs in deep. Powerful leads pick up, blood runs with force, and the track comes to a huge bursting finish.

“Botox Implosion” rips through you with maniacal cackles and outright demolition that powders bones. Wild howls lead the charge as the band keeps adding fuel to the fire, relentlessly beating you into a strange paste. “In Blazing Oceans” chugs early and then achieves a tempered pace, with the verses going for the throat. The leads are atmospheric while van Drunen’s vocals quake the ground, feeling gruff and catchy before it ends in a pile of rubble. “The Nameless Elite” has brutal riffs and vocals that come for your physical health, as the band tears back into World War II madness that is trusted and true subject matter for them. The track is fluid and violent, creating hellish images in your mind and letting you be front seat for the bloodshed. “Yield or Die” trudges open and picks up a great melody along the way as van Drunen’s monstrous vocals keep firing hammers. If your blood isn’t pumping during this one, you should breathe into a mirror to see if you’re still there, meanwhile the band brings heavy blasts of energy, paying off the bloodshed packed into this song. The title track ends things, a 7:19-long scorcher that starts in eerie shadows, taking on a calculated tempo. The vocals peel flesh as the band mashes hard, steadily pounding away as van Drunen warns, “Resistance is futile!” Guitars stretch their wings, the steam continues to rise, and the track disappears into strange winds.

Not to be overly simplistic, but it’s an Asphyx record, and they always bring quality doom-laced death. For more than three decades now, the band has unleashed hell over and over again, with “Necroceros” another destructive example of how deadly these veterans remain. This record is an absolute crusher, another jolt of Asphyx greatness they have shown for years and years now.  

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