Released: 2014, SixSSixSix Music
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Conceived in 1998 by Metatron, THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL was a project conceived on the principal of a myriad of colliding musical styles, but with an over all black metal spine holding all the different sounds together. After three absolutely bewitching and essential demos, the band was signed to Supernal Music at the turn of the new millennium, with their debut, The Excommunication Of Christ being released in 2001. Since then, the band has produced five studio albums, including their last effort, Sonderkommando, a well-received twelve-tracker on Candlelight Records.
Experimental Black Metal is the name of the game with THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL, with a sound akin to the works of Hecate Enthroned, Akercocke, and also more contemporary acts such as Old Corpse Road who share a similar, shrieked vocal style. Although the production remains thin on this record (even with the remastering) the first three tracks from Exhuming The Grave Of Yeshua are sure make a great first impression on anyone who listens to THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL for the first time on this compilation CD.
Tracks from Damascus Steel are possibly the most brutal, haunting and intense on the compilation, including the striking, “Creed of Abraham.” “Satanic Black Nubian Pharoahs” begins with minimalistic and Spanish styled guitar strumming, and goes on to feature a saxophone solo, beautiful atmospheric keyboards and also some swinging brass sounds! “On The Surface” taken from the group’s split CD with musically comparable Old Corpse Road is a highlight of the compilation’s more modern tracks, with beefy guitar riffs, claustrophobic intensity, and an effective variety of vocal styles. Tied up with a memorable chorus, impressive bass-lines and a melodically sensible guitar solo, it is certainly a gem track from THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL’S vault of rarities.
This record concludes with two tracks featured on Terrorizer Magazine Christmas CDs, “All Things Bright and Shit” and “Song of a Hundred Roars.” This compilation certainly serves as an excellent entry point for any potential new MEADS OF ASPHODEL FAN. Although the band’s earlier works are certainly not to be missed, nor is this compilation, which charts the years from 2003 through to 2010 and serves a purpose as one of black metal’s most essential compilations.
Review by Jarod Lawley