The Meads Of Asphodel - The Murder Of Jesus The Jew
Experimental Black Metal
12 songs (1:03:47)
Release year: 2010
Official Site, Candlelight
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

”On a cold spring morning, around AD30, a man was hung on a tree upon a mound of dirt. This is his story, of a man made God...“

There are very, very few bands in the wider Black Metal scene who could get away with an album title like that without being accused of NSBM sympathies – I think The Meads Of Asphodel are possibly the only ones who could. As the usually secretive band point out on the interesting documentary available on their website, the lie historically perpetuated by the Christian Church that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus is what is being attacked, and his Jewish origins are here affirmed rather than covered up. The album is a look at the life of Jesus after many years of research, and Metatron, the band’s vocalist and lyricist, has written a fascinating 60,000 word explanation of the album’s entire concept, also available on the website. His words explain it far better (and obviously in more detail) than space permits here, so I'd recommend those interested in the concept to read it. To concentrate on the music, then, as a fairly long-term fan it’s been interesting for me to hear the little evolutions in the band’s sound over the years, and despite taking a step up from the underground by moving onto Candlelight from Supernal, they are still very underground and raw. Having said that, this is the least Black Metal the band have ever been, and the most Punk. The covers undertaken on their recent releases have suggested this, but I did hesitate before calling this Black Metal in the genre tag, above.

That doesn’t mean that Black Metal is absent. As ever, The Meads Of Asphodel take a variety of influences and throw them all into the pot, being one of the most creative and intelligent bands around. I'd leave it there and tell you to discover the album for yourself, yet the songwriting is so advanced and expert that it’s impossible not to praise, despite the lack of any instant hits like Creed Of Abraham or God Is Rome. The buildup from intro Boiled In Hell Broth And Grave Dust to the first track proper My Psychotic Sand Deity is as intense as ever, the explosion into horn-backed riffage and typical gruff vocals from Metatron soon sliding off seamlessly into space rock soloing and some rather lovely female vocals that evolve into an almost Folky choir to wonderful effect. The contrast between ugliness and beauty is perfect and almost terrifying when the band bit by bit return to darkness with howling blastbeats, a great bit of songwriting and a compelling opening to the album.

None of the rest of the album really matches that bit of perfection, although plenty of moments come very close. The entertainingly foul-mouthed diatribe that opens The Apocalypse Of Lazarus (“you will become the genital warts that adorn the arse of Hades”) soon turns to disco hand-claps and Eastern percussion, a multi-instrumented jam interrupted by punkish breakdown and ending with keyboard domination. Addicted To God goes from raging riff-fuelled stomper to Jazzy ambience, before a rather camp bit of piano-backed singing makes the whole thing seem like a rather deranged musical. That continues on Stiller Of Tempests, with distinctly odd call-and-response vocals over a jaunty acoustic backing, and the woozily psychedelic Dark Gethsemane, although Man From Kerioth goes completely the opposite way, more Crasslike than I’ve ever heard the band as they assault Judas’ reputation from a Catholic perspective.

One particular highlight is Jew Killer, with guest vocals from Taake’s Hoest as a deliberately mischievous choice after swastikagate, beginning in almost Funeral Doom fashion before sliding off into psychedelic proggy meandering. Highlights are aplenty, however, and as a whole, The Murder Of Jesus The Jew is a pretty fantastic addition to the band’s catalogue. It’s a complicated, involved listen best followed alongside Metatron’s explanations, and given much time and attention. Advancing their sound (the Arcturus-like finale on Genesis Of Death is amazing) and enhancing their reputation, The Murder Of Jesus The Jew is a triumph for the band, and given that Metatron has already mentioned a possible subject matter of the Holocaust for the next Meads opus, things can only get more controversial. Who’d want it any other way?

Killing Songs :
My Psychotic Sand Deity, The Apocalypse Of Lazarus, Addicted To God, Man From Kerioth, Jew Killer, Apostle Of The Uncircumcised
Goat quoted 92 / 100
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 - 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 9 reviews click here
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