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ASPHYX - Death Metal, The Brutal Way1

Death Metal, The Brutal Way!

- Tekst av Leif Neverdahl, 12. juni 2009 -

The Dutch death metal act Asphyx returns to the metal scene after 9 years, and for vocalist Martin Van Drunen it has been 17 years since he left the band. Find out why they decided to return, and what album to bring if you get stranded on a damn dark and ice cold island.

Welcome back! First of all, you speak English very well, I know a lot of Dutch people, and they are terrible…. He he, well thank you very much. It’s probably because I was in Bolt Thrower for a period, so I stayed in England for a while and got along with the English guys, so I guess you develop your English that way.

And just so we all know, what exactly does Asphyx mean, how do you pronounce it, and where did you get the name from? You say it straight forward, like you would say Felix or some old king’s name, and the name is based on the word asphyxiation (røykforgiftning). It does not really mean anything, we just liked it  I think it was Bob that came up with it, but im not really sure, it’s a long time ago.

Anyway, its been 9 years since we heard anything from you guys, and 17 years since you was involved with Asphyx, can you tell us why you decided to reunite again? Sure, its actually very simple, the organizers of the Party.San open air festival in Germany had been calling us every year and asked us to play, and every time we have said no, and one reason for that has been that Eric has never had the chance due to personal reasons, like work etc. But then Paul came along, and we had some jam sessions, and it was all just great fun, so we told the organizers, ok, let’s do it! And then the show was so overwhelming and the response so enormous, so we decided we had to move on and do more together as a band.

The new album, 'Death...The Brutal Way' , how would you compare it to the earlier albums, will the old fans recognize the sound and music of Asphyx?  Well, we have a certain style, and we are also aware of the fact that die hard Asphyx fans are very critical to what the band are doing. But that is the way we like it, this is the music we like, and we know this is what the fans also like. We played the album for some people we know, and they love it, so we can’t see that anyone should not like it. It’s a different line up, so the album is composed and arranged with different people, but Paul can not only play like Eric, in a way he thinks the same way to. We feel this album is the logic follow up to ‘Last One on Earth’, which was the last album I was on.

How do you guys proceed when you make music, is everybody involved in the process? Paul came up with all the riffs for this album, and then we arrange it all together. Then in the end, when everything is ready and the whole song is there, I start to think what to do with it, and how I visualize it, what I imagine the lyrics should be like.

And what do you write about, any special things, any special concept?  Well, you know, its death metal, you have a bit of war here and a bit of destruction there, he he, horror stories and Armageddon, all the stuff you expect to get.

You are working with Dan Swanø on this album, how does that affect you, and what kind of influence does he have on the album? He’s a big influence, and he has great feeling for the music and is able to really transfer the way we sound and get what we are looking for. The heaviness of the album is absolutely due to Dan’s capabilities, he is just a great person and an excellent guy to work with.

And what about touring, do you have anything planned for the summer, festivals etc..? Yeah, definitely, we have tons of festivals coming up. Its not like we go on tour really, but we try to cover as much as possible. We will play in Greece, Italy and Finland, and in December I think we will play in Oslo, and Polen will come up, and yes, basically all over the place.

Back to the new album again Martin, how has the reception been so far from press and fans?  Well, again the feedback has been pretty overwhelming from everyone. You know, we said to ourselves that we really didn’t care what people would say, we like it, and that is what matters. But, in the end, off course, its very satisfying that people like what we are doing, it’s very warming.

You mentioned the other band you are involved in, Hail of Bullets, what will happen there, will you continue with both bands?  Oh yes, defiantly, we will not end it with Hail of Bullets, no way. This band is also going very strong, so Im very happy to be involved in two nice bands. We plan and inform everyone involved in both bands, so it’s really not a problem.

Its always interesting to hear what kind of music musicians listen to besides their own music, what about you, only brutal death metal, or do you also have a softer side he he . . . ? He he, off course I have a softer side, sometimes I get romantic, and you know, I don’t really want to put on Celtic Frost he he. I really like Caribbean music when I relax and have a good time, and also, I have always been an old blues freak, and even old rhythm and blues. And even jazz, the old stuff, with singers like Billie Holiday. There are so many different styles and so much music, and it all depends on what is going on and what you are doing. I don’t put this stuff on a lot, but sometimes you are in a special mood, and then it might happen.

And so to the last, but off course most important question, if you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only pick 1 album to listen to, what would that be . . . ? Only 1? Well, before I answer, is it a tropical island or is it cold?

Good question it’s a really damn cold and dark island, not very nice at all
Easy choice then, it has to be Venom and ‘Welcome To Hell’!

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