Drummer Husky about Asphyx’s new album Necroceros
Dutch monsters known as Asphyx are equal to the notion of true, traditional Death/Doom Metal. They belong among those few groups that never released a single bad record – in my humble opinion. This year the band came out with its tenth effort, titled Necroceros and drummer Stefan „Husky” Hüskens was kind enough to share his thoughts about this new masterpiece.
Husky, although you have been for six years the drummer of Asphyx, how did you join them to replace Bob Bagchus? Were you their first choice or did they audition other drummers as well?
Hey, how are you? I hope all is fine and the pandemia didn’t hit you that hard and all your friends and family are in good health! To your question… I think I was first choice. After Bob told them that he can’t/will not do any longer Asphyx, I think Martin and Alwin spoke about new drummers and Alwin told them to ask me. After they did I was really surprised and proud being asked from 1 or your 2 alltime faves to pound the drums. After the first rehearsal it was sure, that the chemistry between us is really something special. I am, like everyone in the band, is proud beeing an Aspyhx member. This means everything to me!
To what extent were you familiar with the band? What are your favourite releases of them?
I know Asphyx since my very beginnings in Death Metal. A friend of mine from my hometown showed me in the beginning of the 90’s The Rack and I was blown away! That was Death Metal I wanna listen to! Raw, dirty and heavy! From that time on I was a huge fan! And The Rack was always the non plus ultra for Death Metal. I was so proud to got in touch with Eric and Bob back in time when they started Soulburn which was back than nothing more or less than Asphyx! Wannes was a good friend of mine because Desaster and Pentacle placed many shows together back then. So after they returned as Asphyx to record/release The Wings of Inferno, Infernal (Desaster) and I did a show with Asphyx, Warhammer and Divine Genocide (with Guido/Sataniac on vokills/bass) at our local youth club which was sold out and that was also the key point why Sataniac joined Desaster some years later! Funnywise Hont, new drummer in Desaster also was playing drums that night for Divine Genocide.
Before I ask you about the new record, what kind of purposes did the Last One on Earth single serve that was released in August by Church of Vinyl Records?
I was suprised when I saw pics of this on Facebook. All older releases are of course in the hands of Bob and Eric. So they sometimes allow people to do some special releases and we normally get a free copy. Which makes me as a collector more than happy. I love that shape, looks amazing!
At which point did you start writing the material for the new album?
Oh, we started writing the new album some years ago. But I must say that Asphyx is a kinda rehearsing lazy. We had like 3-5 rehearsals for the whole record before we entered the studio. Most songwriting we do at the recording studio. Paul comes up with ideas and than we start working on the construction of the song. So at the end, since the last album was out, Paul started collecting new riffs for Necroceros.
Your chief songwriter is guitarist Paul Baayens, does it mean, that all of the songs were written by him alone or did you also conduce with any ideas?
I am a drummer, no musician…. :-). So I can’t write any riffs etc. I can help to build a song with riffs, but the riff must come from someone else! And Paul is the riffmaster in Asphyx. He is the master! He knows how Asphyx 2020 has to sound like. I love his Black Sabbathized riffing. All his riffs are true headbangers and fistraisers!
According to singer Martin Van Drunen, the guys started jamming with all the riffs and arranging the songs together. Did you also engage in those rehearsals or did you work out your parts for yourself and sent them to the guys?
There is no his or my part in Asphyx. We work as a real band. As I said, Paul comes up with riffs and some drum beats. All the rest we do together at the recording studio.
How much material did he have written? In what aspects did you choose the songs that made the record?
We had 1,5 songs extra, which will be on the special edition of the record. Full Death Metal scenario is a fast banger. Martin is telling his thoughts about the whole Covid-19 shit. That lyrics were written right after the first lockdown in March. Second song is only a half song called Death Doom Division and it was kinda make Century Media nervous. Paul found out that on the drums of Botox Implosion another riff, more 80’ speed/thrash style, also fitted. So he recorded a half song with that riffs and we sung over it with massive choruses and high screams. After that we have sent out that song to our contact at CM and told him that it’s time for Asphyx to turn into new ways. To sell more records and get rich!… :-). I think in the first second he really thought we would mean that serious! 🙂 We were laughing our balls off! But honestly don’t take that song serious, it was to blame Century Media thing.
Did there remain any stuff that wasn’t used and put away for an EP or for the next album?
How did the recording sessions go?
We had like 2 weekends for drum recordings and rehearsal. Was good fun with some beer and snacks. First rehearsal/recording was in the middle of the first lockdown. We all had to take care to keep the 1,5 m distance, but it worked fine and all was good and safe. I thought, since the recording studio is in Enschede/NL I maybe cannot enter the Netherlands, but there still is no controls at the border! After all drums were recorded, Alwin and Paul recorded bass and guitars at Paul’s Mörser Studios, which took a couple of weeks and after that was done, Mr. Van Drunen started screaming on the new songs! Amazing times and goosebumps alarm! For this we went back to Tom Meier Recordings in Enschede!
How do you view that you have clicked into a higher a gear this time around capitalizing the free time to deliever your finest record yet?
To be honest Corona wasn’t the reason we started writing and recording a new album! That was planned earlier than this fuckin virus! It was just time for a new Deathdoomageddon!
Do you agree with Martin’s words, that since the previous Incoming Death, nothing has changed, you are well played-in together and it keeps getting better?
Yes, the understanding in the band is better than ever. We play along kinda blind and everyone knows what’s up with the others. Even me as a non-dutch guy, we are a huge family and Martin, Paul and Alwin are like real brothers for me! And this you also feel in the music and see/feel on stage!
Is the actual line up of Asphyx the most stabile, strongest one in the band’s career?
Yes, it is! Absolute! I am in the band since 2014. Six fuckin’ years! Still proud being a member of this cult band from the Netherlands!
Botox Implosion was published in early November; did it really represent what the new album is about as a whole?
Yeah, the Botox Implosion videoclip was good fun to film… :-). But in my eyes this song is only 50% representative for the new album. Necroceros in complete is a bit more heavier, darker and doomy than this song. But as you know, Asphyx is always a mix of heavy, doomy, catchy riffs and fast fucker!
In your opinion, is Necroceros manifestly heavier and more vicious than anything Asphyx have released before?
No, every Asphyx record is HEAVY! Even with all the line up changes, the red line never got lost and Asphyx was always a name for high quality death doom! Necroceros is the next step after Incoming Death and looks like it will be the next milestone in the band’s history! But this is nothing we can say, this is something our fans have to do! I am very, extremely proud of this record, since in my opinion this is the best what we can do at the moment and we worked with a lot of passion and enthusiasm on this record!
As far as I’m concerned Three Years of Famine and the closing title track are the highlights…
Thanks a lot! For me every song is a highlight, but I guess especialy live Knight Templar… and Yield or Die will be hard neckbreaker!
It was partly inspired by the horrors and frustrations of the pandemic era, isn’t it? Did the lockdown put its stamp on your mood a lot, while you were working?
Not really, it was more that we had enough time for anything else. Alwin is still working, Paul also. Martin is at home and myself is renovating a house. So it was good to write and record the album in March! 🙂 But Corona was not a big influence on that record! Fuck it! This little virus asshole is destroying our dreams!
What are your comments regarding the title? What does it refer to?
We build a new huge monster which is called Necroceros. Maybe we start a comic series! 🙂 The incredible Necroceros! Yes, that was Martin’s idea behind the title! The doomy monster known as Necroceros! I loved it from the beginning! It is the right title for this record. Necroceros is heavy, doomy and brutal! So, if someone wanna do a comic, let us know! 🙂
How about soundwise? According to Martin, the only thing the band changed is, that you wanted to try out something with a different mixer. Did Sebastian Levermann manage to do what you wanted to achieve the album with?
Even better! We thought it was time for a change soundwise. Seeb is more wellknown for recording/mixing heavy/speed/bombast metal bands. But I knew that he is a huge Death Metal and specially Asphyx fan. So we checked with him. I am really happy with the sound. For me and my drums there is no better recording exisiting than this! 2nd best was The Arts of Destruction from Desaster and Seven Inches for the Second Attack by Metal Inquisitor! Really happy and satisfied with Seeb’s job! I love Swanö and I am a huge fan of Edge Of Sanity and most of his other projects. But it was time for a change.
Does Necroceros somewhat differ in terms of sound, songwriting, arrangement etc. compared to its predecessor or to the early Asphyx releases?
Like in all Aspyhx albums you still can find the red line. Even after so many line up changes, the Asphyx vibe is on every record. But of course Paul is a different guitar player than Eric for example. But we all in the band know how Asphyx has to sound like. On the new album we tried a new guy behind the mixing desk. Seeb from Greenmann Studios (Orden Ogan) took over and we are soooo happy with the result. He did an amazing job! But as written before all sounds still Asphyx-ish!
Are all of you satisfied with the end result? Does the album remain true to the band’s seminal legacy?
Since I started listen to metal I am also a huge Asphyx fan, so I know how Asphyx need to sound like. I think in every record you find the red line and that’s what Asphyx is all about. Death Metal! Aspyhx is a huge family. We are still in contact with most all of the older members and escpecially Bob is kinda involved. Most things we do let him know and he is happy where Asphyx is now.
Asphyx’s debut record The Rack turns 30 in 2021; are there any plans in mind performing the whole material in live situation? What are your plans for 2021 in general?
We’ll have a Live Stream Release show in 2 weeks. Many shows are booked and planned, but lets see how the fuckin’ virus situation is going. We are ready to enter the stages again and bring Necroceros to the masses! Lets hope the best!
Are you, Paul Baayens and bassist Alwin Zuur still involved in any other bands/projects or are you fully concentrating on Asphyx?
Paul is still in Thanatos and Siege of Power. Alwin is in Berzerker Legion, Gods Forsaken and Grand Supreme Bloodcourt (tbc). Myself is in Carnal Ghoul, Rotten Casket and Trinitas so far. I try to do some more stuff with Rotten Casket at the moment. Carnal Ghoul is on ice and Trinitas is kinda project.
Husky, thanks a lot for your answers! Please, share your last thoughts with the Hungarian readers!
Thanks for this interview! Wish you all a lot of health and lets hope that the virus is crushed down soon! We need live shows again! Check our the new album and stay METAL! Cheers!