The Meads Of Asphodel - The Mill Hill Sessions
Godreah Records
Experimental Blackened Metal
7 songs (49:01)
Release year: 2004
Official Site, Godreah Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

In an odd way, The Mill Hill Sessions is the purest outlet that The Meads Of Asphodel have had to date. Never playing live, the band seem to revel in their anonymity, especially that of frontman Metatron. Yet this ‘live-in-the-studio’ album fits so neatly into the band’s eclectic discography that it’s hard not to see it as anything but another step in The Meads’ path to perfect musical diversity. Although apparently effect-free, this release features very few keyboards, the few remaining undeniably weak against the full-on Metal of the guitars and bass (Hawkwind’s Alan Davey and Huw Lloyd Langton as ever excellent).

Of course, once you’ve listened to the band’s ‘hits’ reproduced in this stripped-down format, it’s hard to not fall in love with them all over again. From catchy opener God Is Rome through The Grisly Din Of Killing Steel (from the Jihad split with Mayhem) and a wonderfully raw 80 Grains Of Sand that forgoes the Kaddish in the middle for a spoken-word piece from Metatron that’s equally as effective. The Watchers Of Catal-Huyuk and A Healer Made God make a welcome appearance, as does Sepultura cover Refuse/Resist, which is undeniably the best cover of that song ever, beating Krisiun’s by a mile and coming close to being better than the original.

The main attraction here is, however, the twenty-two-minute-plus version of My Beautiful Genocide, later cut down to just under five minutes on 2006’s In The Name Of God... EP, but which remains an excellent example of a band jamming and finding their way through a song with style and panache. Of course, it’s rawer than the EP version, especially in the vocals: James Tate’s screams especially unhinged, and whilst patience is more than necessary to appreciate the track to its full extent, it’s worth the time taken. Essentially, this is a rough Prog Metal masterpiece that gets better each time you sit through it, and as with most bands that release stopgaps longer than other bands’ full lengths, The Mill Hill Sessions will be enjoyable for newcomers but most valuable for long-term fans. Released as it was between Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua and masterpiece Damascus Steel, The Mill Hill Sessions has fallen into obscurity, but is a vital part of The Meads’ discography and certainly worthy of your time.

Killing Songs :
God Is Rome, 80 Grains Of Sand, Refuse/Resist, My Beautiful Genocide
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by The Meads Of Asphodel that we have reviewed:
The Meads Of Asphodel - Tomb Songs from a Dying Bedlamite (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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
To see all 9 reviews click here
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