Impii Hora

Metal Blade
rating icon 8 / 10

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. Føk for Helvede

Every discerning VOLBEAT fan knows about Michael Poulsen's dark past. Prior to conquering the world with an inspired mixture of massive riffs and rock 'n' roll crooning, the Dane was guitarist and frontman with DOMINUS: a scabrous, pure-breed death metal band, with little in the way of rockabilly vibes. They released four albums before splitting at the turn of the century, at which point Poulsen veered off on an unlikely tangent, becoming one of modern rock's biggest stars in the process. With ASINHELL, he is seemingly back to prove that death metal is in the blood and eminently worth revisiting when the mood is right.

"Impii Hora" is a straightforward, balls-out extreme metal record, with deep roots in the old school and a brutish, ultra-modern sound. Vocalist Marc Grewe (INSIDIOUS DISEASE / ex-MORGOTH) is the perfect foil for Poulsen's serrated-edge riffs and succinct songwriting: he barks and growls with utmost clarity, while also sounding hell-bent on battering anything and everything within flailing distance. On the likes of "Inner Sancticide" and "Island of Dead Men", ASINHELL hedge their bets between the fast and furious, punky death of the Swedish old school, the bulldozer grind of BOLT THROWER and the harrowing heaviness of AUTOPSY, all while exhibiting a mastery of post-millennial precision.

Poulsen's skill as a songwriter is self-evident: he brings those elements together to form absurdly snappy and memorable songs, many of which are so good that it seems a shame that he waited so long to get back to the deathly grindstone. "Trophies" is so grim and poisonous that it should come with a toxicity warning. "The Ultimate Sin" is darkly melodic and epic in intent but powered by thuggish D-beats and Grewe's incensed bellowing. "Fall of the Loyal Warrior" is a grandiose patchwork of tempos and tyranny. "Wolfpack Laws" is a streamlined incitement to mosh, with blistering speed, pit-friendly groove and a lumbering, skewed doom mid-section that creaks under the weight of its own unholy grandeur.

As a devoted fan of death metal, Michael Poulsen knows that there is absolutely no point in half-arsing this kind of project. "Impii Hora" offers no moments of gentle restraint to lure in the mainstream rock contingent. Instead, this has been conceived and executed with the primary purpose of scratching an itch that Poulsen has ignored for more than two decades. At their most effortlessly vicious and catchy on the evil thrash stomp of "Pyromantic Scryer", ASINHELL are so authentically destructive that their leader's day job swiftly becomes an irrelevance. This is a big, ugly and smartly produced death metal record, and Michael Poulsen plainly knows exactly what he is doing.

Author: Dom Lawson
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