Asphyx drummer Stefan “Husky” Hüskens speaks to ZT’s Harvey Radford to discuss the band’s new album Necroceros – who’d have thought rhinoceros and necro would ever be paired to form an album name? – their recent live stream showand what lies ahead for Husky’s other projects this year…
ZT: Your new album Necroceros was released on 22 January 2021 via Century Media, how has the reaction been to the album so far, and tell us a bit more about the album title and lyrical content behind the release.
Husky: Yes, the beast was unleashed on January 22nd and we are damn proud of it. It took us much time to create it, but it is more than worth it. The reactions worldwide are overwhelming and we also entered the German album charts at position No.3, unbelievable for a death metal band. So yeah, we are happy and thankful. Necroceros is a word creation by Martin and it’s kind of a mix of Necro and rhinoceros, so you can create your own picture. Lyric-wise I am absolutely the wrong person to ask. You better ask Martin next time. I am sorry.
ZT:Necroceros is a full-on assault of death and doom with even a hint of thrash thrown into the mix. Whether it’s a fast or a slow part of the song, it is delivered quite perfectly and somehow even Martin’s vocals sound better than ever. Do you feel that Asphyx have matured with the overall sound, production, riffs, melodies etc. on the new album?
Husky: Thanks for your kind words. To be honest, we just tried to make a better album than the last one. We didn’t say to change something or develop or whatever, but to just play music and enjoy the situation. Paul came along with the great guitar riffs and we were all blown away. Soundwise, we tried a new way with Seeb from Greenmann Studios this time. He is a huge Asphyx fan so it was easy for him to know what Asphyx 2021 had to sound like, but still had in mind not to lose the old-school attitude. He did an amazing job and all of us in the band are so happy with the sound. Hell yeah!
ZT:Until now, for me Deathhammer is your best album, but Necroceros is certainly a contender to be the best and perhaps the most complete Asphyx album to date. How highly do you regard this album compared to previous releases?
Of course, we highly regard every Asphyx album. If you like death/doom, the brutal way, there is no other way than Asphyx.
Husky: Of course, we highly regard every Asphyx album. If you like death/doom, the brutal way, there is no other way than Asphyx. Deathhammer was a great album besides all other records the band has released in their history, so we are happy that Necroceros keeps going that way.
ZT: It’s been almost five years since 2016’s Incoming Death was released, what were the main factors behind the wait for the new release?
Husky: Asphyx is not a band who wants/can release an album every year. We prefer quality instead of quantity. Paul, Alwin and myself have normal jobs and Asphyx is already a big hobby, and hey, we are a death/doom band, so time is our friend.
ZT:This is now your second album behind the kit with Asphyx, how did the whole writing and recording process for Necroceros compare to when you first joined the band in the studio for Incoming Death?
Husky: To be honest, more or less nothing changed that much but all of us in the band became more and more closer to each other and we know how the other guy is working, so recording wise it was all really easy and relaxed. Paul and myself understand each other perfectly. We know what the other guy is doing and that helps a lot in the writing/recording process.
ZT:To coincide with the release of Necroceros you performed a free live stream show for the fans on Saturday 23 January which has now been viewed by over 40,000 people. How was it performing to no crowd and how have you guys fared in regards to donations received so far?
“Of course, we prefer to do it in a real live situation….we need to smell the alcohol, sweat and old rotten metalheads in front of us.”
Husky: Yeah, that was at least kind of “normal“ for a short time. It was of course not easy to play in front of an empty room with no more than 10 people in it, all of who were crew of course….a sound guy, light tech, film crew etc, but after a few songs we had really good fun and to be honest it turned out amazing. The last number I heard was over 60,000 views in over 40 countries which is amazing, and also the guys from Metro(pool)TV were really happy about the result. Reactions, donations and merch sales are amazing and maybe one day, we will do it again. Of course, we prefer to do it in a real live situation….we need to smell the alcohol, sweat and old rotten metalheads in front of us.
ZT:You previously said in our last interview that Bob Bagchus was one of your main influences in becoming a drummer; how does it feel be sat in his hot seat and carry on the mantle of being the heartbeat in the band?
Husky: Yes, absolutely. Bob was always an influence for me and still is. I was so honoured after the guys asked me to join the band seven years ago. I still can’t believe it and I’m still so proud. We have all become really good friends. I am now married and have moved to Gronau, which is near the Dutch border and I have about 20 minutes to travel to Alwin and Martin, so of course we meet each other more often and we also meet in between all the band related stuff too. Also, Bob and Eric are living about 15 minutes away, the last time I had a nice chat with Eric – and I brought him the new album. Here and there I have a nice coffee break at Bob’s house. Asphyx is a big family which you can see at our 30-year anniversary show….that was magic.
ZT:A few changes have happened to you personally and professionally since the last spoke, one of those changes being you leaving Sodom. Will you now be spending most of your time within Asphyx or will you be spreading your time evenly within Apshyx and Carnal Ghoul? I know you do a lot of work for Continental Concerts also.
Husky: Yeah, is it already a year ago that I left Sodom. I am still proud that I played in one of my two all time favourite bands. I still have much respect to Tom and Yorck but my place is in Asphyx. I would never leave any band for Asphyx….never. This is my heart, my love, my doom.
With Carnal Ghoul we recorded a new album last year, but shortly after the drum recordings, our singer Sven (also in Fleshcrawl etc.) told us that he had to stop all band activities because he became really sick. We decided to put the recordings on ice until anything changes. I also play in Trinitas, a project with Vargher (Bewitched, Naglfar etc.) and Mathias (ex-Dark Fortress). It’s kind of like old-school black metal like Darkthrone etc. We just finished some songs and now I need to record my drums. Last but not least, my new band called Rotten Casket with Martin Van Drunen on vokills, Yorck from Sodom, Frank on guitars and Patrick from Disabuse on bass. It’s kind of like Swedish touched death metal. First mini is recorded and we are waiting to record vokills.
At my regular job as a booker for Continental Concerts I am still kind of on ice since the whole scene is waiting to restart again, but I hope that we can start again soon.
For up-to-date info on the band visit the following links: www.facebook.com/officialasphyx www.instagram.com/asphyxofficial
Thanks for dropping in!
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