The Meads Of Asphodel - In The Name Of God, Welcome To Planet Genocide
Firestorm Records
Experimental Black Metal
7 songs (56:20)
Release year: 2006
The Meads Of Asphodel
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

It’s hard to believe that The Meads Of Asphodel has been in existence for nearly ten years now. With the British Metal underground especially, bands tend to fade away if they haven’t ‘made it’ after several years with a bare few grimly hanging on to their cult status despite the odds. Despite gaining all kinds of critical kudos and a split release with Mayhem, The Meads is still about as underground as it’s possible to be. Much of this has to be due to choice, the band choosing the most underground labels that it can to release its music. Perhaps it’s also due to the fact that the band has never played live, the traditional attention-gainer for new groups. In any case, fewer people know of the band than its quality deserves.

Although generally referred to as Experimental Medieval Black Metal, this is about as far from early Satyricon as you’re likely to get. The band’s base sound is an individualistic form of Punkish Black Metal, with elements of everything from traditional Middle-Eastern music, Space Rock, Pop and Techno included, and all work together perfectly. There’s a noticeable influence from British Prog Rock lords Hawkwind, with Alan Davey providing the bass on this release. Also noteworthy is the band’s friendship with Japanese Avant-Metallers Sigh, frontman Mirai Kawashima providing keyboards on a song here. Of course, mere words can’t do the band justice, especially since its members seem to take delight in surprising the listener with the twists and turns that the music takes.

In The Name Of God, Welcome To Planet Genocide is the band’s first EP. After Psalm 363, a brief yet moving intro which layers speeches from Hitler and Churchill simultaneously, the EP moves seamlessly into the first track proper, My Beautiful Genocide. Devotees of The Meads will remember this in a twenty-minute form from the band’s ‘live in the studio’ release, 2004’s The Mill Hill Sessions, and in a shorter, tighter form here it’s excellent. The band is on its technical best, as ever, especially drummer Urakbaramel (also of undervalued Black Metallers Worms Of Sabnock) who is one of the best in the business, having a loose, almost Jazzy style and capable of all sorts of technical trills. Vocals switch between the gruff barks of Metatron (think an unholy combination of Lemmy and Barney Greenway) and the more typical Black Metal gargles of guitarist James Tate.

What makes this EP different from the previous highly regarded album Damascus Steel is that it works within its confines, with little of its predecessor’s smoothness. There’s a greater Punk influence to be found, and not just in the Discharge cover medley or the eighties styled cover art – the whole release feels as though it could have been recorded in one take, with interlocking songs and warm-up drum intros to the first couple of tracks. Of course, just as you’re used to this slight shift in the band’s sound, along comes The Man Who Killed For God with soaring female vocals and danceable beats, before leading into a spectacular guitar solo.

The aforementioned cover medley is one of the EP’s immediate highlights. Although a majority of readers out there probably turned their noses up at the first instance of ‘punk’ in this review, Discharge may well be the band to change their minds. An acknowledged influence upon such luminaries as Celtic Frost and Napalm Death, the English anarchists are responsible for Extreme Metal as we know it today, and deserve much more respect from the closed-minded Metallic hordes than they receive.

Aborted Stygian Foetus closes the release with the electronic elements at the front, fuzzy synths and breakbeats intermingling with a trumpet, building up to the club soundtrack from hell. Fans of The Meads will love it, but newcomers might find the whole thing a little too much. ‘Too much’ is exactly what the remainder of this track is, eighteen-odd minutes of silence before a man (I’m assuming Metatron) with the worse fake American accent you’ve ever heard gives a sermon attacking religion’s devotion to violence and war. It’s deliberately hammy and ridiculous and could only be a hidden track. Whether you like it or not is up to personal taste; personally, although everything he says is spot on politically (let’s face it, The Meads Of Asphodel is one of the few Black Metal bands to talk about current affairs lyrically), it’s the first musical misstep the band have taken in its career yet, and is a sobering finale to the release for all the wrong reasons.

Ultimately, fans of the band will love this. It’s another eccentric step along an eccentric path for Britain’s most eccentric band, and as long as it can hold off becoming a self-parody there’s much life in there yet. Newcomers to the band should hunt down one of the three albums first, especially Damascus Steel, although according to the band’s website Supernal Records has stopped printing them, so eBay might be the best (only?) place to find them in the future…

MySpace
Killing Songs :
My Beautiful Genocide, The Man Who Killed For God, Hell On Earth/Blood Runs Red
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by The Meads Of Asphodel that we have reviewed:
The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
The Meads Of Asphodel - The Murder Of Jesus The Jew reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
The Meads Of Asphodel - Damascus Steel reviewed by Goat and quoted 94 / 100
The Meads Of Asphodel - The Mill Hill Sessions reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
The Meads Of Asphodel - Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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