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The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando

The Meads Of Asphodel
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 08 April 2013, 6:43 PM

I can’t even imagine what is walking in a place where only death looms and skulks. Also I can’t even start to comprehend how much hatred and acrimony the human heart and mind can manifest thus the acts and deeds that come along with it. On a personal note, I had mixed feelings before approaching this release by the English THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL called “Sonderkommando”, via Candlelight Records. The main reason was due to the fact that I am a Jewish person and in overall this album has its fair share regarding the death of six millions of my people back in the Holocaust that occurred while Europe was drinking its own blood in the cursed WWII. Just for general information, the Sonderkommando units were Jews, prisoners of the camps, who were forced to carry out the bidding of the Nazis, threatened by death, to dispose of the dead that were gassed in the chambers. But though the war these groups also rebelled against their oppressors, showing that they aren’t a mere herd of sheeps or lambs to the slaughter.

I read the band’s statement regarding this release, probably due to the reasons that on the outside it would seem highly controversial and I might also add provocative. After reading the testimonial, especially the vocalist’s deep feeling after visiting the remains of the notorious Death camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, it was a bit easy for me to reach out to the band’s music and harsh imbroglios and themes, yet I must admit that this journey through “Sonderkommando” was very bleak, hard to comprehend, depressing, melancholic, exceedingly obscure but in the long run musically interesting through the various twists and turns while experimenting on Black Metal music.

Focusing on the music, THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL is amazingly weird, sound produced as if it was an early 90s releases with a twitch. I don’t think that I have never stumbled upon such a band that wishes, without being too forceful about it, to walk the wooden plank with their music, taking awfully plenty of risks of obscuring Black Metal even more while also stepping out of the genre completely into several other darker forms of Rock. Generally, “Sonderkommando” somewhat proves that THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL is a perverse, even deformed, version of PINK FLOYD and PORCUPINE TREE thus establishing a Progressive Rock front along their Norse like schemes of blackness. Not too many melodic patterns, several fine riffing, some traditional to Black Metal music but well induced with Rockish features. Don’t expect anything that catchy, surely not cheesy. What I also liked about the album was that it always seemed to be looking for a different musical angle, whether through extremities or plainly using diverse instrumentations such as harmonica and keyboards to assert the initial revolting nature of the music. No doubt that the band’s perceptions are uncanny but also proved to be diverse, professionally composed and surprising.

Along with the album’s themes, it turned out to be a troublesome listener, always shifting and moving, attaining the horrid commotion until the range of sickness. On the other hand, what better way to shock your listeners with telling the ugly truth by smearing the scenery with grotesque sounds of chaos? I was slightly nervous to listen to some of the passages, especially the intro featuring the filthy murderous bastard, Hitler, or fiendish narrative / theatrical gross demeanors harbored on various of tracks, yet I tried to look at all this in a much wider perspective that it is suitably shocking for others to learn to never come across such unbelievable acts of savagery, Death construction and genocide. I recommend on listening to this release from top to bottom, let your verdict be set after the last chord. The sound isn’t’ perfect as the mastering could have been better, but the message it holds will suffice even with these rather low production values. In general, “Sonderkommando” can be viewed as a dreadful reminder of what mankind became nearly seven decades ago. I grant you that it will shock, even the non-Jewish folks among you. May the band and label excuse me, but I wish to convey this personal note: Rest in peace my brothers and sisters that died for preserving their Jewish identity, kept on believing and fighting for survival.

3 Star Rating

1. Sonderkommando (You Don’t Have To Die To Walk In Hell)
2. Wishing Well of Bones
3. Aktion T4
4. Silent Ghosts of Babi Yar
5. Children of The Sunwheel Banner (Part 1)
6. Children of The Sunwheel Banner (Part 2)
7. Lamenting Weaver of Horror
8. Sins of The Pharaohs
9. Last Train To Eden
10. Hourglass of Ash
11. The Mussulmans Wander Through The Infernal Whirling Fires Amongst Silent Shadows to be Fed Into the Thirsting Jaws of a Godless Death Machine to Cough Up Their Souls to the Nazi Moloch Who Sits Within
12. Send My Love To Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz
Metatron - Vocals
J.D. Tait - Guitar, Keys & Vocals
Andre Kjelbergvik Thung - Drums & Percussion
Alan Davey - Bass
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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Edited 26 October 2021

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