Band: The Meads Of Asphodel
Album: Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing
Label: Godreah Records
Genre: Experimental Extreme Metal
Release Date: June 21st, 2019
The Meads of Asphodel are a British black metal band from Hertfordshire. Formed in 1998, their music has dabbled with elements of punk, medieval music, and progressive metal, among other styles. Their new album, Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing (sounds like the story of my life), continues with their experimental streak. I will admit that before listening to this album, I had never heard or even heard of The Meads of Asphodel before, so for better or for worse, I will not be able to compare Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing to any of their previous works. Now that my confession is out of the way, let’s dive into the music.
The sound of Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing combines a myriad influences. All the songs have an obvious base in black metal or extreme metal in general. The album opens with the nut-busting Bug Splat, a hard-hitting black/death metal track featuring a heart monitor. Bug Splat, however, is the least experimental song on this record. Most of the other songs contain many sections that are primarily built upon the bricks of other genres. The closing track, Souvenir Of Death, features prominent passages of smooth jazz music, complete with saxophones, while I Stood, Tiptoe, Reaching Up For Heaven shows influence from electronic or ambient music. Many of the tracks have acoustic sections, often alternating with black metal sections in the same song. A very common musical theme on this record is the alternation between dense, loud, aggressive, extreme metal pieces and slower, sparser, somber, more stripped down acoustic/jazz/ambient segments. The harsher musical passages help nurture the listeners anger and hatred of the world, and the softer parts help temper this into a more pensive, “what am I doing with my life/what is going on with the world” mood.
Almost as diverse as the instrumental influences are the vocal styles. Growling and screaming predominate, as they do with most extreme metal bands. However, there are many songs that have clean-sung vocals to some degree. In some cases, such as on Like Blood Shaped Flakes Of Snow (isn’t that just water?) and The Broken Wings Of A Hud-Hud (a what?) feature female singers. The aforementioned I Stood, Tiptoe, Reaching Up For Heaven, a standout track, displays vocals that flow almost like the rapping, mixed in with the usual growling and clean, operatic vocals, in addition to sampling what sounds like British news reports, juxtaposed with apparent sitcom laugh tracks. The delivery of the vocals often have a sarcastic, fuck-the-world, trollish flavor. Funeral Drums Of Insomnia’s Labyrinth contains a kind of tribal chanting/yoiking that are reminiscent of a Korpiklaani song and contribute to the whole shamanic, let’s-commune-with-the-spirit-world kind of vibe of this song. In many cases, the songs present a call-and-echo sort of interplay between different vocal styles, which they make sound so natural. In spite of diverse range of ingredients that make up Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing, the music mixes together beautifully like beef stew with potatoes, carrots, and beans to create something delicious for the ears.
Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing is a unique and beautiful sonic journey. Bringing together a mix of various genres, The Meads Of Asphodel have created a masterpiece that lacks a dull moment. The contrasting musical influences, styles of vocal delivery, and changing paces help keep the listener spellbound and interested. Just based on listening to this album, it would be hard to classify The Meads Of Asphodel into any well-defined subgenre of metal, other than the umbrella terms of “experimental” and “extreme”. As I said before, The Meads Of Asphodel are a new discovery for myself. However, I am glad to have made this discovery. Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing definitely will get me checking out their earlier albums.
- Bug Splat
- I am Oblivion, Deep Drenched In Forever
- I’m Running Out of Time Doing Nothing
- Black is Black & White is White
- Cockroach Marionettes
- I Stood, Tiptoe, Reaching Up for Heaven
- Like Blood Shaped Flakes of Snow
- The Broken Wings of a Hud-Hud
- Funeral Drums of Insomnia’s Labyrinth
- Recollections of a Hand Loom-Weaver
- Souvenir of Death
Total Playing Time: 1:04:36