The Meads Of Asphodel The Murder Of Jesus The Jew
Reviewer: Chris Davison
The Meads Of Asphodel are not an ordinary band. They do not do ordinary things, and they do not cover ordinary subjects. “Aha! Mr. Reviewer! I've caught you out!” you smirk, drooling as you do. “The Meads Of Asphodel are a black metal band; Jesus is covered by nearly all black metal bands at some point in their career, and I claim my £10 (editor: or $17 as the case may be)”. You sir, have missed the point. You have missed the point by a margin so vast that there is no scientific instrument yet devised in heaven, Earth, or within dreams with which to measure such an immense gulf of ignorance. Take a stride over to the blog run by The Meads Of Asphodel, with an extremely impressive set of lyrical guides to the eleven tracks of The Murder Of Jesus The Jew, presented with a scholarly level of detail that would, frankly, make most corpsepaint-clad pretenders excrete rapidly into their bullet belt adorned panties.
The Murder Of Jesus The Jew is an extraordinary album, which approaches a familiar subject to the extreme metal fan in a number of extraordinary ways. Of course, tackling the Middle East is something to which The Meads Of Asphodel have long been well known, with previous releases such as Damascus Steel. That they approach the figure of the "messiah" without resorting to the normal, straight ahead blasphemy is a relief in itself. The subject of Jesus being Jewish, and highlighted as such, in the title doubtless has many shifting in their seats. Rest assured, though, I could find little here that speaks of anti-Semitism; in fact, the overriding premise of the album is that much of the subsequent anti-Semitism of the western world has been created by the lies and distortions of the early Roman christians and their various successors.
Lyrical and intellectual praise aside, it is the music here that is likely to be of at least equal importance to most of our readership. Calling The Meads Of Asphodel “black metal” is really to do them a grave disservice. Sure, at points there are some tell tale remnants of that style hanging about; the odd shrieked vocal, here and there some very fast drumming, or treble heavy guitar. This is much more a metric mind-fuck of sonic collisions and style. Hey, why not start a song about how the devil has been misrepresented by the catholic church to a vague disco beat? By the time “Addicted to God” breaks into a weird, “Hair”-style clean vocals approached stage show sing along, it has already been through at least a half dozen different musical motifs and evolutions.
There are some All Star guests appearing on the album – for what it's worth, members of Taake, Sigh and Acheron – but to be frank, I couldn't really tell when it was them, and nor really did I care. I was too busy being taken along on the amazing ride of the story and the story telling. The undisputed kings of English esoteric heavy metal have done it again, and produced the most interesting and challenging album of the year – if not the last five years.
The Murder Of Jesus The Jew is not going to be to everyone's taste, it's a challenging listen from time to time, and it's certainly not going to make radio play any time soon. That being said, though, I am incredibly proud of these true English heretics, and you should be, too.
Incredible, genre destroying stuff. Get it.
The Meads Of Asphodel MySpace