Hurtling through the vast cosmic wastelands surrounding our miniscule insignificance is a tyrant of unimaginable power, hellbent on the annihilation of existence. Purging its way through galaxies and star systems its horror knows no bounds, leaving not a shred of what once was in its wake; nothingness – beyond nothingness – lies in ruin, its untimely death forgotten in the blink of an eye. In actuality. what appears to be a brief extermination on the outside, this is a demise unending: a state of continuous hell, of agonising death and torturous rebirth – a cycle of gut-wrenching pain as the fabric of matter is digested on a glacial scale. Necroceros is its name and Earth is its next destination. No amount of preparation, of survivalist training, of dollars spent, can protect you from the excruciating endtymes we are to be subjected too – Asphyx would not have this any other way!
Carnage has always run rampant in the Dutch death-leveller’s wheelhouse with the three records since ending their near-decade-long hiatus back in ’07 – especially 2012’s supreme offering Deathhammer – the embodiment of their gnarly mission. Necroceros is no exception: a merciless bloodbath strewn throughout with body parts hacked and torn with rusty implements and reckless abandon, their 10th ungodly abomination is a monstrous dirgefest of savage, neck-breaking proportions with the usual lethal dosage of morose dread and despair pumping through menacing veins. Drenched in a morbidly grotesque production, the ten rotting slabs of festering fodder on display here pack a distinctively old-school bite, one which gleefully lingers on the tastebuds as Paul Baayens shreds the skin of our lukewarm bodies, tenderised courtesy of Stefan Hüskens’ battery. The taste feeds our pitlust, intensifying our need to surge into the pack as ‘The Sole Cure Is Death’ and the sinisterly wicked ‘Botox Implosion’ sends us all in a frenzied rampage.
Once again, with each punishing riff comes inhumane subjugation, unfurling the horrors mankind pits upon makind, the very real threat of planetary self-correction and cleansing of a catastrophic plague. ‘Molten Black Earth’ and ‘The Nameless Elite’ bombard with the unstoppable ferocity of Panzer divisions, chronicling wartime atrocities with visceral fanfare, whilst centrepiece ‘Three Years Famine’ solemnly turns Asphyx’s gaze to Maoism and its terrifying failures, emblazened against a haunting sonic spectacle befitting the near genocidal torment – its sombre melodies alone ranks highly among Baayen’s destructive arsenal. Even Martin van Drunen, that guttural extraordinaire, ramps up his storytelling as ‘Mount Skull’ churns its way through ice and snow, leaving its crew face-to-face with an archaic subterranean horror. And then there’s the world-consuming ‘Necroceros’, that gargantuan Lovecraftian wall-of-sound sending chills down crooked spines all the while the point of devourment approaches. Here, the dread is unreal, and the shockwaves penetrate unlike anything else known to man.
Ultimately, this is by-the-book Asphyx, a meaty culmination of over three decades of wartorn butchery served on a silver platter. With each album comes a promise of more of the same (this is true death metal ya bastards), slathered with enough festering matter for the cannibalistic hordes to gorge upon. Theirs is a harrowing formula, rightfully honed with each succession of victims hung upon the rack for torturous validation, so much so it ought to be considered a fine art. It’s a formula so encrusted in their flesh, so embedded in their brains, you’d need a Panzerbuchse to warp even the minutest of elements! Needless to say, you can rest assured that, no matter how dire the state of the world is, whenever you want engrossing, rancid death metal of the highest order there will always by Asphyx.