The 10 Albums That Changed My Life: Volbeat's Michael Poulsen Details His Extreme Metal Pedigree - Knotfest

The 10 Albums That Changed My Life: Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen Details His Extreme Metal Pedigree

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on July 13, 2023

Set to debut his death metal passion project, Asinhell, this fall, Poulsen shares how the late 80’s and early 90’s era of death metal remain untouchable.

Last month, veteran Danish rock mainstay Michael Poulsen, best known for his work as the frontman of the arena-sized Volbeat, announced he was going back to his roots with his next passion project.

Recruiting the likes of ex-Morgoth vocalist Marc Grewe also of Insidious Disease and drummer Morten Toft Hansen from Danish group Raunchy, Poulsen sought to tap into his foundation of brutal, timeless death metal. Citing the greats like Bolt Thrower, Entombed, Autopsy and Grave and among his most enduring influences, Poulsen introduced Asinhell with the emphatic introduction of  “Fall Of The Loyal Warrior”.

The blistering introduction not only showcased Poulsen’s range as a musician, but further underscored that his education and reverence for for the genre was core to creative DNA.

The single began a campaign which will culminate with the September 29th debut of the album, Impii Hora (Latin for Ungodly Hour). Emphasizing the authenticity of the release and it’s classic death metal pedigree, the album will be release by Metal Blade Records – a reality that has long been in the making for Poulsen.

“It’s such a dream come true for me to get to be on fucking Metal Blade Records,” Poulsen enthused. “When they said they wanted to put out the album, I felt like I was 17 years old again. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m making a deal with Metal Blade! How cool is that?’ It was like I was finally getting the record deal I dreamed of when I was a teenager.”

As for the vision and thematic consistency of the album, Poulsen makes it clear that Asinhell follows in the lineage of genre greats and was always intended to pay homage to the bands that have paved the way.

“The album was inspired by late ’80s and early ’90s old school death metal, and one of our brightest points of inspiration was the mighty Death, fronted by the legendary Chuck Schuldiner,” explained Poulsen. “There’s a lot of Death in there. Schuldiner is one of my favorite death metal vocalists, the other being our vocalist Marc [Grewe]. ‘Let the metal flow,’ as Chuck would have said!”

The introduction of Asinhell was intended as an homage to the influences that Poulsen explained he and the band were proud to wear on their sleeve. To better highlight those influences, we asked Poulsen to share the death metal foundation that lead him to begin his first death metal project, Dominus, in the 90s and ultimately establish a legendary career as the accomplished frontman of Volbeat.

His list did not disappoint.

In his own words, these are the ten death metal albums that changed Michael Poulsen’s life.

Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)

Poulsen – The Master Chuck Schuldiner delivers heavy, crushing death metal riffs, great harmonies with James Murphy, and brutal growling with lyrics that are still relevant today.  

Grave – Into The Grave (1991)

Poulsen – One of the best death metal records of all time. Great sound and a great balance of uncompromising and catchy riffing with top-notch growling. Swedish death metal at its best.

Autopsy – Severed Survival (1989)

Poulsen – Even though I love Mental Funeral just as much, this stands close to my heart since it was the first Autopsy record I heard. It’s so disgusting in its sound and sloppy but with a performance and sound so real and honest that you actually believe true zombies are playing on this record. Hail the mighty Chris Reifert and his ghouls. And how about that bass?

Amorphis – Tales from the Thousand Lakes (1994)

Poulsen – Ground breaking. So heavily brutal in its sound with a great balance of strong songwriting and signature melodies. Their storytelling makes you feel that you’re part of their world when you read the lyrics combined with the great atmosphere in the music. 

Darkthrone – Soulside Journey (1991) 

Poulsen – An all-time classic. So unique in its sound and delivery. With impressive twists and turns in tempo, breaks and melodies; a good, cold-sounding death metal classic.

Bolt Thrower –  The IVth Crusade (1992)

Poulsen – So monster-heavy in its sound and delivery that it makes other death metal bands sound like a Walt Disney project. Signature melodies with catchy riffing.

Malevolent Creation – The Ten Commandments (1991)

Poulsen – Brutal, catchy death metal combined with thrashy elements. Signature growling from (Brett) Hoffmann.


Entombed – Clandestine (1991) 

Poulsen – An all-time classic and groundbreaking album. Entombed proves they can do it all and make it work in the name of METAL.

Gorefest – Mindloss (1991) 

Poulsen – Brutal, cutting guitar sound with Jan Chris’ amazing deep, rotten growling on top. A death metal fist in your face from the beginning to the end.

Morgoth – Resurrection Absurd (1989) / Eternal Fall (1990) 

Poulsen – The best German death metal band of all time. As a BIG Death fan, I was elated to hear another band that seemed to be cut from the same cloth in Morgoth. Singer Marc Grewe’s voice shared some common threads with Chuck’s, but also had its own signature sound. That made him one of my favorite growlers of all time.

Impii Hora, the debut release from Asinhell with Michale Poulsen, will be released September 29th via Metal Blade.

Pre-order it here

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