The Grim Lord’s Reviews: Meads Of Asphodel/Tjolgtjar Split EP (2015)

This odd split from the legendary fucking Meads Of Asphodel and some guy (Reverend J.R. Preston) who goes by the name of Tjolgtjar offers up a rather intriguing brew of black metal, which seems to start with one of Mirai’s most perplexing compositions yet. I’m not really sure where he got the idea for this Riverdance-influenced piece, but it doesn’t seem like it belongs in anything, not even Sigh. Regardless of the fact that the record begins with this enchanted walk through the woods, it definitely picked up steam with “Chidock Tichborne 3:55” which sounds just like the well-textured Meads that I wanted to hear. There are bits of black metal mixed in with terrific leads and electronics that even escalate into female vocal backing chants. I don’t know what’s to become of all this experimentation, but I trust that my ears are in good hands with The Metatron as they always have been. But then came “You’ve Got The Hate 2:44” which knocked me completely on my ass. I want to think that it’s a parody cover (which is indeed what it is from looking at the booklet) quite like the infamous “What A Wonderful World” of years past, which would only be further emphasized by the use of a purely female vocal fronting which eventually escalates into full-blown metal and shredding. Plus, Metatron re-worked the lyrics, so they’re quite entertaining. It’s not as memorable as “What A Wonderful World” but I don’t think that anything will ever be as gloriously grim as that musical masterpiece. When the fun has ended, work resumes on original material with “Balthasar Gerard 4:23” as it begins with wonderful narration and horrific sound effects that fit entirely well. A little bit of folk rolls into what feels like a dark rock, which later rolls into something that almost feels a little like Latin groove. If Meads keep this up, I’m going to have to put on my dancing shoes. The last track here is the fiery “Infidel 4:34” which leaves us on a fiery, yet atmospheric note (once again, I don’t know what’s to become of all this experimentation, but I trust that my ears are in good hands) which seems to favor the drums as well as a narration that finally leads back into the harsh vocals of which we haven’t heard in a while. It calms down and heads back into atmosphere, which closes the whole EP with a rather spiteful endpoint. I’ll not spoil that here, but I’m sure that most of you will agree with the Metatron’s statement.

Now we have side two, which is the byproduct of Reverend J.R. Preston as I’ve mentioned earlier. Here we experience a slightly more kvlt production value, albeit a very un-kvlt style and sound for black metal. Though the reverend uses a pitch that feels very goblin-like and feels authentic; the seventies rock inspired sounds, numerous bells and bizarre sound clips are anything but. Additionally the band is quite melodic, almost as much as Obsequiae and feel very different from what I’ve heard in black metal before. While I’ll admit that I hate the production value of the thing (even though the guitars are audible) I definitely sense a sort of promise coming from the act that I did not discern from the first listen. But that is because I could barely hear it the first time. There’s even a clean vocal backing in one of the latter tracks which I would certainly feel is also rather un-kvlt and will have the blackened hordes crying tears of disappointment all around. Thankfully for him however, I’m not one of those disappointed hordes. Still, I have no earthly idea why an album that was recorded either this year or the last sounds as rough and (nearly) inaudible as it does here. We don’t have state of the art production tools when we make albums, but I do try for a certain clarity even though I’m on a pauper’s budget. I want to make sure that everything can be properly discerned and that my vocal utterances can be legible and understood as well. But perhaps this recording is in the spirit of the old school, regardless of the fact that everything from funk to classic rock has been cited here with the same kvlt black metal vocal approach. It all sounds like it’s coming out of a tube somewhere under the ocean, but I guess as long as the man can live out his Deep Purple days in a black metal format, he’ll be happy. All in all, this is a pretty well-rounded split for lovers of extremely experimental approaches to extreme music, like black metal. I feel that both artists have done a magnificent job and it’s definitely worth hearing. I look forward to hearing more from both in the future. Definitely give it a spin.

(9 Tracks, 34:00)


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