ASPHYX’s MARTIN VAN DRUNEN Names His 5 Favorite Death Metal Albums

Martin Van Drunen
Photo credit: Negakinu Photography

In a new interview with Revolver magazine, ASPHYX frontman Martin Van Drunen has picked his 5 favorite death metal albums.

The legendary Dutch Death Doom Elite ASPHYX finally return with their new, 10th full studio album release. Entitled Necroceros, the new longplayer was recorded at Tom Meier’s Tom Meier Studio and at Paul Baayens’ The Mörserstudio and then finally mixed and mastered by Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann at Greenman StudiosNecroceros, which once again features front cover artwork by Axel Hermann (see below), will be available worldwide on January 22nd, 2021 via Century Media Records.

Martin‘s favorite death metal albums can be find below, with commentary on each record.

Autopsy – Mental Funeral

“When I got a copy of the album, we were already in contact with AUTOPSY. So we obtained all the demos back then because we were tape traders. They traded with us as PESTILENCE and we traded with them. So we got to know them after [AUTOPSY singer/drummer] Chris Reifert played on [DEATH‘s] Scream Bloody Gore. So PESTILENCE would send their music over and AUTOPSY would send theirs until we got the first album Severed Survival, which is a bloody classic along with the demos.

“After that, Mental Funeral came out and maybe a lot of people will not agree with me, but I prefer it to Severed Survival,” Martin continued. “It’s got a groove and sometimes there is this death, dirty sludge to it. Mental Funeral is really an old-school death-metal album that has a lot of doom influences too. I love it. I feel like that’s when they kind of stepped it up and figured out who they were a little more — stepping ahead of the pack, that kind of thing.

Slaughter – Strappado

How many demos did they make? There were the Meatcleaver demos and rehearsals, but when they came with Strappado it was like, wow. It’s still a classic. It’s just raw and uncompromising. I don’t even think about the production or the quick, simple lyrics. It’s just: Our name is SLAUGHTER and we deliver the goods! I still love that album.

Death – Infernal Death and Mutilation Demos

The thing with DEATH is although I like Scream Bloody Gore, we always preferred the demos, the times of the [Chuck Schuldiner’s pre-DEATH band] MANTAS days,” Martin says. “Yes, MASSACRE did it afterwards, but there was a bit too slick of a production for those tracks. Tracks like “Witch of Hell” and “Corpsegrinder” — those really were the monuments of death metal, that really simple one, two, three riffing. I prefer those demos like the Mutilation demo and the Infernal Death demo. So when Scream Bloody Gore came out, we were actually a little bit disappointed.

Nocturnus – The Science of Horror Demo

The same actually happened with the second NOCTURNUS [demo] The Science of Horror, which was the first time I heard death metal with keyboards in it. The first thought is that it’s not going to work, but that specific demo had such a great atmosphere. Those keyboards were really sinister. So I expected a lot from their [1990] debut The Key. So when that came out, I go, “What the hell did they do with them?” I was in contact with [vocalist/drummer] Mike Browning — he was really a nice guy — and wrote him, “Jesus what happened here? I’m sorry to say but I’m disappointed.”

Possessed – Seven Churches

POSSESSED‘s Seven Churches was not as dirty maybe as some of the other albums that I mentioned before, but it almost felt like the violence they were singing about was actually for real,” Van Drunen says. “It was as if they were there in the bloody studio destroying the place, you know? They were just kids making this noise!

“They were doing something no one ever heard before. So this was really a bomb. We were just shocked, like, “This can’t be real. It’s so brutal.” Jeff [Becerra‘s] voice sounded like it was from another planet. The way that the guys play the riffs. And sometimes we would discuss, like, “Is he really planning to drum the way he’s drumming on this album?” It’s a crazy album and it’s still fantastic. I still love to play it.