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Fuck England. - 10%

Noktorn, September 29th, 2008

The Meads Of Asphodel are a totally vapid and inconsequential band that has managed to convince the metal scene that they are actually composing something of interest. Fooling the metal scene is not difficult to do, but the profound degree that this band has managed to trick even reasonably intelligent listeners is quite frankly amazing. There's nothing of actual value on 'Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua', just the cloying appearance of purpose and direction amidst all the masturbation. It could be a joke were people not so tragically serious about it.

Beyond the simplest of Pantera worshipers, metalheads are generally a rather insecure lot about their taste in music, and any elements that can help draw attention away from the typical lexicon of metal (blast beats, tremolo riffs, lyrics about things that aren't petty introspection, you know the drill) is seen as a blessing, much in the way that having a few token non-metal artists to listen to is a way to atone for the sins of their main body of taste. The Meads Of Asphodel, for those insecure people, is like a godsend: it's got just enough metal aesthetic to be listenable for black metal fans, but it also has assorted acoustic interludes, electronic effects, programmed trip-hop beats, and other novelty slathered on so thick you can't see the skeleton that the flesh is draped upon. Thus, it's the perfect union, in the eyes of the insecure, of the duality of music, where everything is either metal or non-metal, and so can be brought out not only as a token of one's open-minded tastes, but also as a sort of trump card against all those who might besmirch the name of heavy metal.

"How dare can you say that metal is one-dimensional and unartistic! Have you heard The Meads Of Asphodel? They play heavy metal but also incorporate influences from rock music, electronica, prog, and even hip-hop! That PROVES that metal is open-minded!"

Now anyone with more than a handful of neurons firing will see the whole debate for the sham it is, but there's a high school sucker born every minute who feels the need to justify his taste in music through such half-assed equivocation. Numerous metalheads believe, ironically, that metal in and of itself is inherently brutish and unable to articulate itself in a manner anyone would appreciate. And so this demented guilt-cycle continues to produce bands such as The Meads Of Asphodel, who cater to the audience of metalheads who need something quirky and overwrought to listen to to absolve themselves of the sin of extreme music. It's supremely idiotic, and The Meads Of Asphodel play supremely idiotic music couched in endless varieties of pseudointellectualism and musical inconsistency.

There's really very little that's genuinely metal about this music. Stuff that sounds like black metal occasionally pops up, but it doesn't REALLY sound like black metal; for all the tremolo riffs, screams, and blast beats that they force into these few moments of extremity, the riffing seems rather random and shoddily composed, the vocals unexciting, and overall they give the impression that the band is just filling in space between stretches of ambiance or wafting acoustic guitar. The rest is droning pseudo-prog rock that sounds a lot like if Pink Floyd had listened to a lot of Iron Maiden but had no actual idea of how to express their musical ideas. It's remarkably club-footed music; it always feels slow and awkward when attempting even a pinch of intensity, and only really sounds at ease during the bland parts with funk drums and synths dominating the sound.

The whole package is sickeningly pandering and desperate for approval. Take the opening track, 'God Is Rome'; essentially a punk song (with The Meads Of Asphodel's trademark idiot jazz chord riffing), but god forbid it simply stay a punk song, as the band fortunately decides to inject a totally unrelated and meaningless acoustic break halfway through. Phew, thought I was going to feel some energy for a moment! Glad they stomped that out! 'Guts For Sale' is dominated by acoustic guitar and bass that makes me sound like I should be speeding in a pink convertible somewhere in California while a camera slowly pans away. 'Sluts Of The Netherworld' has a totally awkward metal opening before popping into a trip-hop beat with cheesy electronics. Every track follows this pattern: brief moments of metal immediately tossed away in favor of more dreary 'open-mindedness'.

Not only is this album a complete farce as far as being genuinely artistic, but the music itself can't even be trite yet well composed. The band never falls into anything approximating a flow, opting instead to bore the listener dreadfully through endless repetition of the same few melodic themes that pop up on nearly every track. The music has not even the most remote hint of substance. It's a totally vacant parody of 'progressive' music, and yet people eat it up in droves. Who can honestly listen to this and say they hear something of meaning and musical relevance? It's incompetent from top to bottom and there's no excuse for anyone to willingly listen to this.

Inconceivably worthless.