The Meads Of Asphodel - Running Out of Time Doing Nothing
Godreah Records
Experimental Punk, Black Metal
11 songs (1:04:36)
Release year: 2019
The Meads Of Asphodel, Godreah Records
Reviewed by Goat

After controversial, provocative albums like 2010's The Murder of Jesus the Jew (which has led to the band being shunned as NSBM by less bright parts of the internet) and 2013's Sonderkommando, it's hard to see how English battle-axes The Meads of Asphodel could have outdone themselves. And even with lowered expectations Running Out of Time Doing Nothing is something of a disappointment, lacking a unifying theme to hold the album together and missing the band's usual songwriting magic, almost seeming amateurish at points. Sure, the usual foul-mouthed diatribes about man's inhumanity to man are present and correct, yet there's nothing that really stands out on initial listens the way that past highlights such as Creed of Abraham or God is Rome did and this is definitely their least black metal album to date. So even fans of the band will find Running Out of Time Doing Nothing a step down in quality from past peaks and many listens later it remains something of a messy album, yet not one without highlights.

The opening Bug Splat is one, opening with a fading heart rate monitor and Metatron snarling "wake up, you wankers!" before the band launch into an effect-bedecked punky blackened gallop with what sounds at points like the drum kit from St Anger, if not a particularly unique drum machine! There's no mistaking the particularly organic-sounding drum pattern that opens the following I Am Oblivion Deep Drenched in Forever, a more old-school sounding piece for the Meads that is drenched in keyboards and backing female vocals, making for a psychedelic piece that is not among their best but is effective enough here. Not for the first time, however, you will wish that the band had been a bit ruthless when it came to self-editing, especially after an acoustic break and another lengthy vocal section that don't really fit as part of the same song. It can seem like Metatron and co were more interested in provoking than creating good songs at times, the spoken/snarled word that takes up most of Black is Black & White is White much less interesting than the jazzy drumming that accompanies it although the ensuing, almost Monty Python-esque acapella section is definitely the sort of thing that fans would expect and enjoy.

The band have always been best at shorter, catchier songs like the title track here, with an almost poppy clean-sung chorus standing out from Metatron's harsh vocals, but seem unwilling to give into such musicality in favour of lengthy avant-garde experiments which are much less enjoyable to listen to, even when they work as intended. There's no doubting the passion that is put into Cockroach Marionettes, for example, keyboard-laded crust punk with lyrics like "It's a good fucking day to die in Palestine & hatred grows on open fucking graves", and sections like the opening to I Stood Tiptoe Reaching Up For Heaven that cuts together reported terrorist violence from newsreaders with satirical BBC programs and canned audience laugher is the shockingly effective Meads of Asphodel that has won a significant audience. Yet the way that track continues into what can only be described as a Cockney rap about religious violence and hatred is far more of an acquired taste!

Fortunately, there are a couple of genuinely terrific moments present to save the album from complete failure, such as undisputed album highlight Like Blood Shaped Flakes of Snow which features eerie, downright childlike, female vocals from Cristina Padavano atop a compellingly intense instrumental metal gallop, Metatron returning atop a Dimmu Borgir-esque piano section before the track weirds off into electronica - the results being terrific, up to the band's old standards, and even using the nine-minute length well and not at all feeling overlong. The Native American elements like percussion and chanting in Funeral Drums of Insomnia's Labyrinth are a vital addition and push it into second place, and although metal elements are mostly downplayed across the album, they're a brief highlight on album closer Souvenir of Death, initially groovy chugging turning intermittent and erratic as the song turns jazzy and stretches on a little too long, even with a saxophone solo. Perhaps the band's shtick is a little played-out but overall this is definitely not The Meads of Asphodel at their best.

Killing Songs :
Bug Splat, Like Blood Shaped Flakes of Snow, Funeral Drums of Insomnia's Labyrinth
Goat quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by The Meads Of Asphodel that we have reviewed:
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
The Meads Of Asphodel - Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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