Way back in the day before Volbeat, frontman Michael Poulsen fronted a death metal band called Dominus. Dominus broke up after four albums in 2000 and Poulsen has been find some pretty serious success with Volbeat since 2001.
Now, 23 years after the end of Dominus, Poulsen has a brand new death metal band called Asinhell… but why now? Why make a comeback in death metal after all these years, and being so successful in rock? In an interview with 96.3 The Blaze, Poulsen starts his explanation by revealing he initially started Volbeat because he felt death metal was a little limiting.
"As you probably know, you know, I started out as a death metal musician. Back in the days, I had a band called Dominus and we managed to release four albums on a Danish little label back in the day. So, yeah, it goes way back to where I was tape trading in 1990s. So it's been a lot of inspiration since then. So, you know, it kind of goes like 33 years back to where I started. I was very early out playing death metal — yeah, I think I started playing death metal when I was 16, 17 or something, and I started listening to extreme metal when I was about 13. So that kind of music has been there from the very beginning as a young kid.
"And I knew that when I ended Dominus, it was because the journey I was going into was a style of a lot of different styles that I couldn't combine in the death metal music. So I formed Volbeat where there was not so much rules about what you could do or what you could not do. So, as you can hear in the Volbeat music, there's a lot of different styles, but in Asinhell, it definitely takes you back to all the stuff that I was, and still [am] listening to, as a young boy discovering extreme metal."
Poulsen later revealed that his real inspiration for coming back was writing the song "Becoming" as a tribute to the late and great Entombed frontman L.G. Petrov.
"For a long time, people have been asking me when I'm gonna return to death metal, and I said, 'I have no idea,' because the time that I'm using on Volbeat, it's a lot of time touring. We are constantly on the road and we are writing and being in the studio. So it was very difficult for me to answer a question like that. But when the pandemic came and I wrote Servant Of The Mind for Volbeat, there were other riffs that came up where I said, 'Those riffs I'll put aside and keep them for another project when there was time for doing that. And that became the Asinhell project.
"When we did Servant Of The Mind, we recorded a song called 'Becoming', and that was kind of a tribute to Entombed and my good friend L.G. Petrov. And we all know that story, that L.G. passed away 'cause of cancer. Some days before he passed away, he was trying to call me. And the first time he called, I couldn't pick up. I was somewhere in a supermarket at the register paying for my groceries. And then later on he called me, but that was during the night, so I never pick up my phone during the night. And next thing I hear that he passed away. And so I was really bummed about that. And we kind of just then dedicated the Volbeat song 'Becoming' to L.G. and we put on this amazing BOSS pedal that makes this ugly, beautiful Swedish death metal sound.
"And I just got really inspired by that. And I told my guitar tech if he could find that pedal and then order it on the net and then I would probably start maybe working on some riffs. And the same day we talked about that, I was about to take my morning run and my iPod, just by coincidence, starts on Entombed and I'm hearing L.G. screaming [singing], 'I'm full of hell.' And for me, that was a call from L.G., and I said to myself, 'This time, you're fucking picking up, Michael.' You are starting now. This is the time. And, actually, I wanted to call the band Full Of Hell, but I quickly find out there was another band by that name. So I said, 'Okay, well, what do I do now?' So I changed it to as Asinhell."