Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Meads of Asphodel - The Mill Hill Sessions

8/10

The Meads of Asphodel do not perform live; this release consists of songs performed live-in-the-studio. I'm normally not one to prefer live albums over studio recordings, but I really like these renditions because they downplay the band's non-metal influences by mixing the guitars much louder than the synthesizers and cutting out the samples almost entirely. (I didn't hate the forays into electronica, but they did provide most of the band's weaker moments.)
For example, "80 Grains of Sand" and "Grisly Den of Killing Steel" have sample sections replaced with hilarious poems read by Metatron which I shall not spoil here. There are also guest appearances by former Hawkwind members Huw Lloyd-Langton and Alan Davey (but then again, who hasn't been in Hawkwind?). But my favorite part of the album is "My Beautiful Genocide," which starts out as a pretty standard (but strong) black metal song and morphs into a great jam session interspersed with a few more spoken word bits.
This is much less experimental than the rest of the Meads' output, and while the electronic parts were sometimes good, I don't miss them much here. The only real blemish here is a Sepultura cover which doesn't really do anything for me. This might be a good starting point if you're worried that the Meads aren't "metal" enough.

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