The Meads Of Asphodel - Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua
Supernal Music
Experimental Blackened Metal
10 songs (54:53)
Release year: 2003
The Meads Of Asphodel, Supernal Music
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The second album from English experi-mentalists The Meads Of Asphodel was a big step forward from their impressive yet rough-around-the-edges debut. Not only are the songs improved in almost every way, better thought-out, improved musicianship, a greater range of ideas… this is also a damn sight weirder than The Excommunication Of Christ. Examples are endless, but one of the main standouts for me personally, at least, is the section partway through 80 Grains Of Sand, where a Rabbi reads out the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of remembrance for the dead, backed by Middle-Eastern percussion and rumbling ambience. Despite the initial zaniness, it fits surprisingly well into the song and helps to illustrate exactly what makes The Meads so unique; can you think of a single other band that could incorporate something like that into a song and get away with it?

In many ways, Exhuming… is more Black Metal than its predecessor, but it’s still a far cry from what most people would recognise as Metal of a Black persuasion. God Is Rome, the first track proper on this album, starts with Punkish riffing but the psychedelic keyboards that come in during the chorus, riding blastbeats and the twisted vocals of Metatron and James Tait give it an unmistakably Blackened air. That the song goes on to include an acoustic interlude and a Thrash break is part of the band’s lovable ‘everything bar the kitchen sink’ approach to writing music – it really works, too. The spacey keyboards and medieval undertones in Blood-Blasted Holy War take a psychedelic grandeur of their own (Doom riffs! Thrash riffs! Bass noodling! Fairground waltzing!) whilst the aforementioned 80 Grains Of Sand would be a great song even without the middle section, focusing on the interplay between the keyboards and the great big fat Heavy Metal riffs.

The Meads Of Asphodel really outdid themselves here. Songs like Guts For Sale, acoustic riffs and danceable beats beneath mellow keyboards, are little short of fantastic, betraying the band’s Prog Rock interests. Partway through it turns to Middle-Eastern instrumentation again, percussion and strange trumpets writhing for a moment before the laid-back calmness returns, Metatron’s spoken growls all that betrays the band as not being commercial. Hawkwind cover Utopia follows, as good as you’d expect considering the fact that frontman Huw Lloyd Langton contributed lead guitar to the album. Other guests include Sigh’s frontman Mirai on keyboards, Hawkwind’s Alan Davey on bass, Vincent Crowley (a former Reverend in the Church of Satan) of Acheron and Nocturnus narrating, and more keyboards from Thus Defiled’s Paul Carter.

From the fantastic guitar solos on A Healer Made God to the technical riffing on Sons Of Anak Rise (one of the few places where actual Black Metal comes to play, as twisted and progressive as it is) there’s very little to criticise here. Sluts Of The Netherworld will probably cause a few raised eyebrows when it dips into techno, but the biggest shock of all is reserved for the end, where ten-minute outro 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 comes along, as the band cheerfully admit on their website, ‘a purpose-made head fuck designed to take you away from the album’s core and induce thoughts of ‘What the fuck is this!!’ Everyone will react differently – personally, I love it, the techno/ethnic beats of the start giving way to… well, disturbing madness, but listen for yourselves. Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua is another string to The Meads’ mighty bow, and bridges the rawness of their first album and the professional excellence of Damascus Steel to perfection.

Killing Songs :
God Is Rome, Blood-Blasted Holy War, 80 Grains Of Sand, Guts For Sale, Sons Of Anak Rise, On Graven Images…
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by The Meads Of Asphodel that we have reviewed:
The Meads Of Asphodel - Running Out of Time Doing Nothing reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
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
To see all 8 reviews click here
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