Review by Michael on August 22, 2023.
I remember back in 1994 when I was completely blown away by a debut album called "View To The Dim“ by a Danish band called Dominus. That was brutal and super fucking heavy death metal with a voice quite similar to Glen Benton (Deicide) or (if somebody still remembers this so much underrated Swedish band) to Wojtek Lisicki (Lucifericon).
After the long break of 23 years the main guy behind Dominus now decided to record a new death metal album. Some things have changed since he is no longer the vocalist but left this role to Marc Grewe (I guess it's his fourth album in 2023 so far…) and the drummer is Morten Toft Hansen from Raunchy. And to let the cat out of the bag, if you haven't guessed it (or read in the news) already, the main guy behind Asinhell is none other than Michael Poulsen from Volbeat.
Asinhell has almost nothing to do with his main band since it is pure old school death metal worship. Old heroes like Autopsy, Death, Bolt Thrower get a lot of tribute paid on Imperii Horaand there is nothing that sounds “modern” or “nu” on here. But let's go and examine some songs shall we? A song like 'The Ultimate Sin' is a punching death metal feast with a lot of hellish groove including a great pummeling drum sound with some ass-kicking double bass and a great Chuck Schuldiner memorial solo. 'Wolfpack Laws' starts with some riffs and drums that might sound like when you make some popcorn at home, a little bit hectic but after that another furious blast beat hits you straight in the face. That track is another pretty catchy one with some doom-laden riffs in the middle-part that remind me here and there of some Volbeat tunes. The title track however is mostly kept in mid-tempo and captivates the listener by the brutal vocals and the gripping beat. This is a real cool banger and probably the slowest song on the album. Opposite to this is 'Trophies'. This one is the most brutal song (maybe also lyrically) with really harsh drumming and some massive guitar riffing. And again the vocals underline the brutality of the music and as a matter of fact over all 10 songs Marc Grewe thrones with his slight psychotic death metal screams. The only “song” I don't quite get is the last one 'Føj For Helvede' which just lasts a few seconds and has some spoken words from a small child.
So what else can be said about Imperii Hora? Well, I’m going to assume that Michael Poulsen didn't found the band to make any money but just for fun and because he is a death metal maniac. You can find passion for extreme music in every aspect of the album as a matter of fact. Starting with the cover and logo up to the songs and the production which has become really good. At first I thought that the drums would be a little bit too overproduced but after listening several times to it, I changed my opinion – they kick goddamn ass! I guess that the “regular” Volbeat fans won't have too much fun with this release because it is pure fucking death metal without any compromise. But other metalheads who also liked Dominus and are into old school death metal should listen to this one, together with the new Cannibal Corpse two highlights in death metal this summer and this year!
Rating: 9.5 out of 10969