German goth rock quartet ASP formed in Frankfurt in 1999. The group took its name from frontman Asp, born Alexander Spreng, who co-founded the project with guitarist Matze (Matthias Ambré).
As a duo they completed their first three-song demo release soon after signing to the independent label Trisol Music. In the summer of 2000 the ASP lineup expanded to include bassist Tossi (Andreas Gross
) and drummer Himmi (Oliver Himmighoffen) as well as backing vocalists Max (Marcus Testory) and Holger Hartgen. On July 30, 2000, the band made its live debut at Geretzhoven's Gothicworld Festival, completing the backing "choir" with Pit Hammann. ASP's debut LP, Hast Du Mich Vermisst? (Der Schwarze Schmetterling Teil I), followed by year's end, and in the spring of 2001 the group played a series of festivals including Wave-Gotik-Treffen and Ostara, building a devoted fan base prior to the autumn release of their sophomore effort, Duett (Der Schwarze Schmetterling Teil II). In December ASP organized and headlined their own festival, Die Zusammenkunft, performing alongside the likes of L'Âme Immortelle
, Janus, and Chamber. In the spring of 2002, they also toured with Umbra et Imago
and Tanzwut. Weltunter (Der Schwarze Schmetterling Teil III) followed in mid-2003, supported by a tour with Xandria
. However, in March 2004 Trisol
's distributor, EFA
, went bankrupt, rendering ASP's back catalog out of print in one fell swoop. (Which, when you think about it, is a very goth thing to happen, no?) ASP soldiered on, making their U.K. debut at April's Beyond the Veil III before returning to Germany for a summer festival tour. Max and Hartgen left the lineup soon after, and in September the band's records were reissued complete with bonus tracks. A tour with Porn closed out 2004, and the following summer ASP issued its fourth LP, Aus der Tiefe (Der Schwarze Schmetterling Teil IV), reaching the German Top 50 for the first time. A spring 2006 acoustic tour with Chamber was preceded by an unplugged EP, Humility. Requiembryo (Der Schwarze Schmetterling Teil V) followed a year later. 2008 was a busy year for ASP with the release of three new albums. A best-of compilation called Horror Vacui was followed by the conceptual album Zaubererbruder: Der Krabat-Liederzyklus and a live album Akoasma: Horror Vacui Live. A live DVD appeared in 2009 and another full-length album Fremd (Fremder-Zyklus 1) in 2011. That same year, co-founder Matze left the band leaving frontman ASP in sole control of their destiny. The new version of the group released the EP GeistErfahrer in 2012 and followed it up with the full-length Maskenhaft (Fremder-Zyklus 2), which reached number two on the German charts. ~ Jason Ankeny & Timothy Monger, Rovi