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B- - 81%

Lyrici17, May 17th, 2009

“Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua” starts off with some ominous drones, and perhaps, a shaker? At 1:14 a powerful angered voice chimes in and explains how you, the listener, are in for some awesome music. He doesn't say those exact words, but that will be the result regardless. The Meads of Asphodel are interesting group. Even if you hate this material, you will probably still think it’s interesting. The Meads of Asphodel are really experimenting here. They draw from lots of different influences. There’s ambient influences all over the place, as well as black metal, folk metal, medieval folk, and probably lots of other stuff that I don't even realize. This material is very progressive. The music is in a constant state of flux. However, they are able to create, for the most part, pretty seamless transitions. This is actually pretty impressive if you consider the many different styles they are mixing together. I want to label this band medieval blackened folk metal, but that’s just too many damn words. Though, I think the label does sum up this band in three words.

The guitars are definitely the draw, for me, with this album. Honestly, there’s not really a bunch of riffs that completely stand out for me (though the riffs at 3:36 and 4:05 in “Blood Blasted Holy War” are both pretty good) (the solo at 2:30 in “Utopia” is also quite good - though not a riff). However, I think, generally, the riffing is a lot of fun. There’s a lot different riffs playing all sorts of different stuff. There’s also a fair portion of acoustic guitars on this album (“Guts for Sale“, for instance, is an almost all-acoustic affair). I think eventually most people will find at least a few riffs that they will end up saying they like, even if they might not remember them later. What they will remember, is that they [generally] liked the riffing.

The bass is hit or missing. That’s not the same as hit or miss, mind you. No, what I mean is that for the most part the bass is pretty good. It plays a lot of different parts, while not necessarily mimicking the guitar (though this does happen from time to time). Yet, there are also times where the bass is simply lost. I like the drumming a lot. It’s not overly technical by any means, but it plays a lot of different kinds of beats. There’s also a lot of additional percussion done - with more folksy drums (I suppose they're more folksy). I found this to be fun, as well as enhancing the overall medieval sound. There's a even a fair share of drum machine (mostly on the more ambient-dominated tracks).

The keyboards are pretty important on this record. Throughout this record, there is almost always some sort of keyboard part being played. Sometimes they're just drones, choirs, or strings, but they're always pretty complementary. There are even a couple tracks that are mostly dominated by the keyboards (“Intro: Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua” and “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” being the two most heavily dominated).

“Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua” is a successful album because The Meads of Asphodel are able to take a bunch of different styles and genres, and mash them all together into a experimental progressive medieval masterpiece. Then this is matched with a medieval aesthetic. Yes, the members wear chain-mail, carry large unforgettable shields, brandish swords and spears, and don helmets on their heads (covering most of their faces in the process). They also hang out in castles, and discuss religion as if they reside in the 5th century (though modern influence does come though at times). If the Anglo-Saxons had minstrel music like this, I think history might have turned out a little different - perhaps not. Regardless, this record is very enjoyable, and worth checking out.