The Meads Of Asphodel - Old Corpse Road - English Black Punk Metal/The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless split
Godreah Records
Black Metal
10 songs (55:47)
Release year: 2010
Godreah Records
Reviewed by Goat

Bringing together one of the best-known and one of the least-known members of the underground British Black Metal scene, this split will doubtlessly be snapped up by Meads fans but deserves an even overview for the quality of Old Corpse Road’s contribution, The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless. I don’t mind admitting that I’d never heard of them before now, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out in future; their three songs here total up half the running time, with none of their tracks dipping below the eight minute mark, and they use their time well. First track Hob Headless Rises makes it clear that their splitmates here have been a big influence, but you can also hear an audible nod to old Cradle Of Filth with tinkling piano and vocals that move between roars and snarls.

Emperor-esque build-ups and break-downs structure the track overall, tinny keyboards working well behind the near-monotonous drumming and more varied guitars, and it soon becomes clear that Old Corpse Road have the chops to prolong their songs to this extent, especially with the pagan acoustic interlude with clunky percussion that follows. Folk-tinged riffing and epic group vocals make it clear that the band have genre-crossing ambitions, and whether it’s the spoken vocals of The Devil’s Footprints, intense and old-school in its wonderful corralling of melodies in Black Metal form, or ominous and atmospheric storm that is The Witch Of Wookey Hole, Old Corpse Road come close to upstaging The Meads here. Certainly a band that I’ll be keeping an interested eye on, and I recommend that you do too.

As a forerunner to their long-expected fourth full-length, The Meads Of Asphodel are gifting their fans with their half of the split. It’s typical of them to use five out of seven of their tracks as cover versions, that cynical British sense of humour coming through as clear as ever, but it’s also typical that they don’t use this as an excuse for a drop in quality. The Embalming Of Gods, the intro to their half is an enjoyably sweary and miserable proclamation of intent, Metatron groaning about Mother Earth being on the ‘spitroast of our inhumanity’ before sarcastically uplifting keyboards transport you seamlessly into the seven-minute On The Surface. Massive chugging riffs and Eastern melodies soon have you back in the band’s typical territory, playing to their strengths as their catchy blast develops with a call-and-response extended chorus and galloping guitars.

I had previously thought that the band’s aggressively talented drummer Urakbaramel had departed, but his multi-limbed approach is easily detectable, and audibly as organic as ever. He’s put to the test on the aforementioned covers, four of which are from Crust/Punk bands and all of which kick maximum amounts of arse. Fans of the band’s trips to Discharge territory on the In The Name Of God... EP from 2006 will be immediately at home here, as tracks from Doom, Hellbastard, Conflict and Skeptix are tackled with relish. You can hear the band really enjoying themselves as they plough into the originals, Hellbastard’s Nazi especially turning out well with the keyboard-drenched sound and glorious solo, and SkeptixWar Drum giving Urakbaramel a chance to shine. The split finishes with a ridiculously fun cover of The KinksYou Really Got Me, proving that the band were right to name their half English Black Punk Metal. Comparisons to Darkthrone are apt, but The Meads are far too entrenched in their own sound for this to hold up; think of them not changing their sound, but naming it, as they’ve been pretty Punk for years. Either way, this is yet another enjoyable release from the band, and expectations are higher than ever for their Jesus-based concept album due later in the year.

MySpace: Old Corpse Road and The Meads Of Asphodel
Killing Songs :
Hob Headless Rises, The Devil’s Footprints, The Witch Of Wookey Hole & On The Surface, Nazi, War Drum, You Really Got Me
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