Whether it be Dominus’s early stabs at death metal or Volbeat’s Brylcreem-drenched rock, Michael Poulson’s pedigree is littered with terrible band names and, in the latter case, millions of albums sold. The clunky moniker selection continues with Asinhell, a deliberate look back at his Swedeath/Earache Records/Sunlight Studio-worshipping roots.
Step one for this project was welcoming Marc Grewe (Insidious Disease, ex-Morgoth) to hack his lungs into the mic. This allowed Michael to deep dive with his axe into the Dan Seagrave-adorned corners of his record collection and explore his nascent extreme metal fantasies.
Joined by drummer Morten Toft Hansen (Raunchy, ex-HateSphere) the result is as slick and measured as expected, considering the years of wellfunded exactitude that has coloured the majority of Michael and Morten’s professional lives. But that doesn’t mean Impii Hora – Latin for ‘Ungodly Hour’ – isn’t dripping with bangers.
The crude’n’coarse youthful buzz may have been bevelled off this particular HM-2 pedal – call it an HM-1? – but Fall Of The Loyal Warrior and Island Of Dead Men remain eerily reminiscent of Clandestine-era Entombed, Inner Sancticide rumbles like a Bolt Thrower-piloted tank and Desert Of Doom is a start-to-finish death/thrash earworm. Try as the trio might to simply ape their early loves and influences – a stated goal was to not reinvent the wheel – there are moments where two decades of musical maturity can’t be suppressed.
The Ultimate Sin and Wolfpack Laws combine triplet gallops through Stockholm’s famed Skogskyrkogården cemetery with vintage Hetfield downpicking and cock rockin’ leads pulled from the Sunset Strip’s tightest spandex trousers. Not even Volbeat money can buy a time machine, but this is the next best thing, and as decent as any deliberate rendering of the past.
Impii Hora is due September 29 via Metal Blade