The Meads of Asphodel are from the UK and play a very individual brand of Black Metal. Here they team up with US one-man Black Metal project Tjolgtjar, who you may remember from 2012’s Kjal Tjormejn.
As such, this is an interesting and exciting split release from two atypical Black Metal bands that succeeds in putting two very individual and different spins on this well-worn genre.
The Meads of Asphodel are up first and contribute 16 minutes to this release.
The Meads of Asphodel always manage to imbue their songs with such personality and character, due in no small part to their charismatic singer Metatron. On this release he’s as expressive as ever and has his performance aided by other vocal styles such as croaking screams, ghostly chants and female vocals.
The music manages to be underground, extreme and catchy all at the same time. Classic Blackened blasting and experimental pseudo-Pop share space on this impressive collection of tracks and whether they’re playing fuzzed-up, dirty Black Metal or synth-heavy atmospheric sections, The Meads of Asphodel are at the forefront of Experimental/Progressive Black Metal.
Oh, and track three is a cover/re-imagining of Candi Staton’s You’ve Got the Love, retitled You’ve Got the Hate. It works.
After this it’s on to Tjolgtjar, supplying 18 minutes of music. It’s an odd, atypical expression of Black Metal, with a more garage, underground feeling than the more flamboyant tendencies of The Meads of Asphodel.
In some ways Tjolgtjar remind more of a conventional raw Black Metal band, but this is only superficially true. Upon closer inspection, the riffs and general composition of the music is unusual. Even when the blast beats are flowing swiftly, the guitars are playing Blackened rhythms and melodies that are almost like semi-distorted Country/Folk acoustics. Almost. It’s as if this music came from decades ago and is a Black Metal version of 70s Progressive Rock.
The vocals are screamed croaks but also benefit from cleaner accompaniments. It’s an added extra that, when combined with the music, reinforces the 70s music connection, at least to my mind.
Black Metal, Classic Rock and Progressive Rock, combined. Nice.
But this is what Tjolgtjar do so well; their music is not your average Black Metal and their contribution to this split is superbly delivered and realised.
This is a very impressive release from two impressive bands. If you’re looking for Black Metal that’s challenging and different from the norm then this should be your first stop.
Very highly recommended.