VOLBEAT's MICHAEL POULSEN Opens Up About His Return To Death Metal With New Band ASINHELL
July 29, 2023
In a new interview with Shawn of "The Rockstar Radio Show" on 96.3 The Blaze, VOLBEAT frontman Michael Poulsen spoke about his new death metal band ASINHELL, which will release its debut album, "Impii Hora" (Latin for "Ungodly Hour"),on September 29 via Metal Blade. Regarding how the idea for ASINHELL came about, Michael said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "As you probably know, you know, I started out as a death metal musician. Back in the days, I had a band called DOMINUS and we managed to release four albums on a Danish little label back in the day. So, yeah, it goes way back to where I was tape trading in 1990s. So it's been a lot of inspiration since then. So, you know, it kind of goes like 33 years back to where I started. I was very early out playing death metal — yeah, I think I started playing death metal when I was 16, 17 or something, and I started listening to extreme metal when I was about 13. So that kind of music has been there from the very beginning as a young kid. And I knew that when I ended DOMINUS, it was because the journey I was going into was a style of a lot of different styles that I couldn't combine in the death metal music. So I formed VOLBEAT where there was not so much rules about what you could do or what you could not do. So, as you can hear in the VOLBEAT music, there's a lot of different styles, but in ASINHELL, it definitely takes you back to all the stuff that I was, and still [am] listening to, as a young boy discovering extreme metal."
He continued: "For a long time, people have been asking me when I'm gonna return to death metal, and I said, 'I have no idea,' because the time that I'm using on VOLBEAT, it's a lot of time touring. We are constantly on the road and we are writing and being in the studio. So it was very difficult for me to answer a question like that. But when the pandemic came and I wrote [the] 'Servant Of The Mind' [album] for VOLBEAT, there were other riffs that came up where I said, 'Those riffs I'll put aside and keep them for another project when there was time for doing that. And that became the ASINHELL project.
"When we did 'Servant Of The Mind', we recorded a song called 'Becoming', and that was kind of a tribute to ENTOMBED and my good friend L.G. Petrov [late ENTOMBED singer]. And we all know that story, that L.G. passed away 'cause of cancer. Some days before he passed away, he was trying to call me. And the first time he called, I couldn't pick up. I was somewhere in a supermarket at the register paying for my groceries. And then later on he called me, but that was during the night, so I never pick up my phone during the night. And next thing I hear that he passed away. And so I was really bummed about that. And we kind of just then dedicated the VOLBEAT song 'Becoming' to L.G. and we put on this amazing BOSS pedal that makes this ugly, beautiful Swedish death metal sound. And I just got really inspired by that. And I told my guitar tech if he could find that pedal and then order it on the net and then I would probably start maybe working on some riffs. And the same day we talked about that, I was about to take my morning run and my iPod, just by coincidence, starts on ENTOMBED and I'm hearing L.G. screaming [singing], 'I'm full of hell.' And for me, that was a call from L.G., and I said to myself, 'This time, you're fucking picking up, Michael.' You are starting now. This is the time. And, actually, I wanted to call the band FULL OF HELL, but I quickly find out there was another band by that name. So I said, 'Okay, well, what do I do now?' So I changed it to as ASINHELL."
As for how he recruited his ASINHELL bandmates, ex-MORGOTH singer Marc Grewe (also of INSIDIOUS DISEASE) and RAUNCHY drummer Morten Toft Hansen, Poulsen said: "I was so inspired, and I live 10 minutes away from my drummer Morten, who has a daughter that's six years old, as my daughter [is], and they are hanging out together and having a good time. And Morten, now and then, he's active in his own band called RAUNCHY. They do not play live shows that much, but he still has his drums in the garage. And I kindly asked him if he wants to put some drums on a death metal project I had in mind. And he was totally up for it when I said, 'It's gonna be in the vein of DEATH, BOLT THROWER, AUTOPSY, GRAVE, ENTOMBED.' And that was totally his alley. So, he said, 'Where are we gonna rehearse?' And I said, 'Right here where we are standing.' And he said, 'In my garage?' 'Yeah, why not? Let's imagine that we're kind of 16, 17 years old again.' We didn't have money for expensive rehearsal rooms or anything that we have now. So I said, 'Let me just bring an amp and I'll turn it all to 11. No P.A. system, nothing. Just your drums. Don't mic it up. It's just an amp, and let's just do some riffing. I've got songs at home.' And it turned out that every Friday me and Morten would be jamming for two hours, and every Friday I came with a new song, and suddenly we were just looking at each other, like, 'Okay, we actually have songs for a whole album here.' And I ended up calling my good friend up, Marc Grewe, which was the former singer of legendary German [band] MORGOTH. I always thought that Marc had the best death metal voice in the scene, together with Chuck Schuldiner from DEATH. And for many years we talked about doing something together when the time was right. And I called him up and I said, 'You know what? I actually have our whole album. Are you ready?' [And he said], 'Hell yeah, I'm ready. Let's get to it.' I did some demo vocals on some of the recordings. And I asked Marc, 'How do you want me to record?' [And he said], 'Ah, just put your phone in the garage and press 'record' and then send it to me on your phone.' I said, 'Okay, it's gonna sound like a fucking mess.' [And he said], 'Yeah. That's how it should be like.' [Laughs] He said, 'That's how we did it back in the day with MORGOTH. We just put a ghetto blaster, a tape recorder in the rehearsal room and just pushed 'record' when we did rehearsal recordings.' [And I said], 'Yeah. Okay. Then that's how we're gonna do it.' So me and Morten made a lot of noise in that garage and I was putting down some demo vocals [for] Marc to get some inspiration. So I was just screaming and yelling down in my phone. And he said, 'Yeah, it's perfect. We could even release it like that.' [And I was, like], 'Yeah. Wait a minute.'"
According to Michael, two other guest musicians appear on the "Impii Hora", both of whom will be familiar to fans of VOLBEAT.
"We ended up using Jacob Hansen, our producer, as the bass player on the record, because he was there in the studio anyway. And I said, 'I'm not gonna play the bass. Let's do it different.' And so we just asked Jacob if he was into it, and he said, 'Yeah, I would love to.' So very quickly Jacob put down the bass. And I've been knowing Jacob since the INVOCATOR days, where he was active in INVOCATOR. So suddenly, having a great lineup with Marc from MORGOTH and Jacob from INVOCATOR, Morten from RAUNCHY — it was great. And then Morten said, 'Since we have this huge inspiration from DEATH, you should hear how Flemming [C. Lund], my good friend from THE ARCANE ORDER, is playing guitar. He can do those kind of DEATH solos. I knew Flemming from back in the days when I had that DOMINUS band. So I checked Flemming out and his solos in THE ARCANE ORDER, and I was blown away. And I gave Flemming a call and I asked him kindly if he was into it. And he totally understood where we were going with this, so he was very excited about it. So, yeah, he put down those solos and, as I said before, now we have a record coming out very soon."
Michael was equally excited to get ASINHELL's debut LP released via Metal Blade, a label which has consistently been at the forefront of the metal scene, from releasing the earliest material from METALLICA and SLAYER on the classic "Metal Massacre" compilations through to seminal releases from CANNIBAL CORPSE, GWAR, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, AMON AMARTH and many more.
"Brian Slagel from Metal Blade, he heard the songs and he was very, very, very into it, and he said, 'I would love to actually release this.' And for me, that was a dream come true," Michael said. "The legendary Brian Slagel from Metal Blade — we all know the story. So that was a dream come true. I remember being a young kid, tape trading and trying to get a record deal, but then so many years after, actually then ending up on Metal Blade with a new project called ASINHELL, that's beautiful. So I'm very excited about it and very proud of the record."
"Impii Hora" track listing:
01. Fall Of The Loyal Warrior 02. Inner Sancticide 03. Island Of Dead Men 04. Trophies 05. The Ultimate Sin 06. Wolfpack Laws 07. Desert Of Doom 08. Pyromantic Scryer 09. Impii Hora 10. Foj For Helvede
Michael Poulsen - Guitar Marc Grewe - Vocals Morten Toft Hansen - Drums
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