The Meads Of Asphodel - The Excommunication Of Christ
Supernal Music
Experimental Blackened Metal
13 songs (48:48)
Release year: 2000
The Meads Of Asphodel, Supernal Music
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The debut full-length from The Meads Of Asphodel often gets overlooked in their discography, but it’s a great album. There are hints of influence from early English Black Metal such as Cradle Of Filth in some of the almost Gothic melodies, especially towards the beginning of the album, but if we’re being brutally honest this isn’t quite Black Metal. Riffs are big and old-school, underappreciated drummer Urakbaramel does everything except blastbeats, and lead vocalist Metatron has a gruff voice (Lemmy meets Barney Greenway) and often speaks lyrics rather than singing. You probably already know of the band’s links with Space-Rock legends Hawkwind (Huw Lloyd Langton provides a couple of solos here) and it’s that classic experimental drive that’s the focus of the music here, albeit with the interstellar aspects replaced by the Medieval.

It’s the atmosphere that really marks this album out. The jaunty keyboard blasts in first track proper Angelwhore soon change into sombre flutes and whistles, and the epic riffs and keyboards on The Watchers Of Catal-Huyuk give it a real majestic mood. This album is mostly free of the Punkish attitude that later albums have, and it can seem more Metal as a result – Agrat Bat Malah is practically Thrash Metal at moments. Although The Excommunication Of Christ lacks the outlandish and deliberately surprising moments of later releases that have helped make the band (in)famous, this is still very experimental, with frequent changes in tempo, voice-overs, genre switches and loose song structures. It’s not all keyboards and samples, either – apart from the aforementioned Agrat Bat Malah, you get the riff-heavy Assault And Battery (a Hawkwind cover) with lots of lead guitars and even some drum n’bass, and Pale Dread Hunger, an epic Metal gallop.

For me personally, the Middle-Eastern elements have always been a strong factor in my enjoyment of this band, and whilst they’re quite rare here, moments like the Eastern instrumentation on the aforementioned Pale Dread Hunger really enhance the experience. The melodies in the likes of Rise In Godless Hell and Agrat Bat Malah, the frequent usage of Hebrew in song titles and lyrics, it all adds up to make the listening experience that much more exotic and fresh, and even now Eastern elements in Metal are the exception rather than the norm, despite the massive influence that they’ve had on Western music. We lovers of the exotic will just have to take our pleasures where we can find them, and The Meads Of Asphodel are a pleasure indeed. The only slightly weak track present is Jezebel And The Philistines, opening with a woman talking and continuing in a spacey way with lots of keyboards. It’s not dreadful, but it’s a far cry from the quality of some of the band’s later mood pieces. Still, for a debut album this is excellent, and fans of The Meads should definitely own it.

The Watchers Of Catal-Huyuk (MP3 from official site)
Killing Songs :
Angelwhore, The Watchers Of Catal-Huyuk, Agrat Bat Malah, Assault And Battery, Pale Dread Hunger
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by The Meads Of Asphodel that we have reviewed:
The Meads Of Asphodel - Running Out of Time Doing Nothing reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
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
To see all 8 reviews click here
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