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I Must Confess: This Album is Awesome - 92%

Hawksword192, June 11th, 2010

Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua marked a new era for The Meads of Asphodel. For starters, the mind behind Jaldaboath is gone from the Meads and to replace them is the ever competent James Tait but also with Sigh vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Mirai Kawashima, bassist Deorth and Hawkwind bassist Alan Davey. Secondly, while the first album sports black metal with many different styles, it does so with a strong emphasis on the black metal element in the music. Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua doesn't blend the influences, it embraces them in a way that are in no way superficial but completely integral (as in the songs could not exist without) showing a band that is not afraid to experiment and competent enough to do so. Personally I feel this lead to an extremely well written, fun, and thought provoking album filled with crushing riffs, atmospheric keyboards, acoustic interludes and with enough lyrical prowess to invoke consideration if whether Metatron is a front man for a band or poet.

The first impression of the whole album has to be cohesiveness. The Excommunication of Christ was a strong effort but suffered from the sense that it felt like what it was. It was a re-recording of demos from their earlier days with new production and better vocal performances. While it does not diminish from the individual strengths of the material, ultimately the entire album seems bound together by production. Unlike that effort, Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua has the feel of an album written and performed as an album and not like a collection of songs. The songs flow into each other without feeling repetitive and each song feels like a distinctive idea within the anti-Christian musical mythos they have established. Mirai's keyboard passages and James' acoustic guitar pieces certainly help the flow by giving the impression of a gentle transition between raging circles of hell. Although on an individual basis some of the songs are individually weaker than those on the previous album, the album format compliments their strengths into a juggernaut of a listen.

The highlights of the album are easily the songs God is Rome, Utopia, Sluts of the Netherworld and Book of Dreams (which is a bonus track and re-recording of a previous demo). God is Rome starts off with a combination of strong riffs and blunt Anti-Christian lyrics into a furious mix. Utopia gives a hardy hard rock feel (probably due to the Hawkwind influence and members) combining with black metal and more of Metatron's amazing lyrics. It's here where James Tait shows his abilities as a guitarist by making catchy riffs and a catchy solo without losing any of the anger and mockery expressed through the human defeatist lyrics. Sluts of the Netherworld takes a different tone. While Utopia and God is Rome are songs to headbang to, Sluts of the Netherworld is easily the song on the album a listener is bound to shout out with. Finally but certainly not the least is Book of Dreams, which is essentially more of a poem set to catchy electronica elements and while many black Metal fans might find it anathema to listen to, I found it certainly a fun way to end the entire album.

Special mention is needed for On Graven Images I Glide Beyond the Monstrous Gates of Pandemonium to Face the Baptized Warriors of Yahweh in the Skull Littered Plain of Esdraelon. While it’s not really a song, the chants of God is Fucking With You with varying inflections while screams of the rapture in the background I personally found to be hypnotizing. It summarizes the album really well. A surreal experience in which a listener is not sure if they’re being fucked with or if they’re experiencing mayhem with mercy. Either way, any fan of black metal and experimentation should certainly check this album out.