Thursday, May 23, 2019
the Meads of Asphodel : "Running Out of Time Doing Nothing"
It opens with a darker more industrial sound. This is a big change but I am fine with it. This is almost like Sigh in the sense each song is dramatically different. There is still a darker mood over this with some more Coil like vocals. This is less pounding and the guitars sit kind of weirdly in the mix. I would not say this is black metal any more, thought there are elements of it in places, but blast beats alone don't make something black metal. I think this is a positive thing as it means they have outgrown the genre. The songs do wind around and has a dynamic range dipping into some more folk interludes. The title track reminds of of if Emperor were a prog band instead of black metal.
Things get even weird on "Black is Black White is White" which include jazz and rock elements thrown against metal. The more straight forward metal moments are not as interesting though by no means dull and more often than not finding their way to at the very least atmosphere of progressive interludes. The guitar playing that is clean toned seemed to be very nuanced. The guitar solos are color by number though. The big rock drum flourishes are better than the balls out black metal ones. Things go into a weird eletronic direction that reminds me a little of Madness..yes the ska ban on the song "I Stood Tiptoe Reaching up For Heaven"
Siouxsie like female vocals surface for "Like Bloodshaped Flake of Snow" . This is straight forward, but the shift of the vocals works really well. Thiis is not the only straight forward metal song that works there are a couple and when they do it is because the vocal melodies are strong enough to carry it. I am always going to prefer the moments that are sonically more heavy than metal an hopefully dark, which is what happens on "Funeral Drums of Insomnias Labyrinth. Though this song does tend to work off a drone more often than not. The more jazz inflected tones return on "Recollections of a Hand Loom Weaver". This song flows with a graceful sense of dynamics that is not devoid of groove. "Souvenir of Death" has more of a death metal vibe at first , then it shifts into something that reminds me more of Samael. The lyrics are some of the best. There are references to angels masturbating over the dead.
I will give this one a 9, it might be their best album yet, because it is one of their darkest. Sometimes change can be for the better than his is a good example why. If you are looking for folk tinged black metal, this might not be it any more , but what you are getting is better than what they used to be. They are officially crossed over into progressive metal with out coming at it from the over wanking end. This album comes out June 21st.