Rating:
N/A
The Meads Of Asphodel - Sonderkommando
8 April 2013


01. Sonderkommando
02. Wishing Well Of Bones
03. Aktion T4
04. Silent Ghosts Of Babi Yar
05. Children Of The Sunwheel Banner (Part 1)
06. Children Of The Sunwheel Banner (Part 2)
07. Lamenting Weaver Of Horror
08. Sins Of The Pharaohs
09. 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 A Ring Of Smoking Infant Skulls
12. Send My Love To Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz


If you know your WWII history, or have read Metatron's highly enlightening essay on the concept behind Sonderkommando on The Meads Of Asphodel website, you'd know that the "Sonderkommando" of this album's title were Jewish prisoners who worked concentration camps during the war in return for special privileges, most specifically an extension of their persecution date. Hauntingly artistic and intentionally thought-provoking as usual, the band's fifth full album continues with the usual Jewish/Middle Eastern themes they've more or less become known for. Only this time, the topic isn't some far-gone Israel or Semitic land of yesterday, but a more contemporary, relatable event that is still deeply scarred into our global memory. This is a black metal interpretation of the Holocaust, The Meads Of Asphodel style.

If you're familiar with The Meads Of Asphodel, you know what to expect by now. On Sonderkommando, mood shifts abound, and the twists and turns on which these Brits take their music reinforce them. One of the best examples is unquestionably the massive titular opener, which plunges the listener into a beautiful blend of piano and violins, topped off by Metatron's cleans that sound as if they could've come out of a 70s prog rock band. But then, as if with the snap of a finger, chaos ensues around the 6 minute mark with Metatron screaming "This is fucking death!" and a fanatic barrage of aggression follows, later topped off by a return to the song's earlier melody. Many more such shifts follow, but no matter how suddenly ("Children Of The Sunwheel Banner," "Sins Of The Pharaohs") or gradually ("Last Train To Eden") these transitions may occur, they always seem to follow a natural flow.

What really makes Sonderkommando undoubtedly a Meads Of Asphodel album, however, is the neutral approach the band take to the gruesome topic of the Holocaust. It's not all tongue-in-cheek dark humor, but it's certainly not a "how could something like this happen?" type of sob-fest either... rather, it's a little of both. "The Wishing Well Of Bones," for instance, is rather upbeat, almost hummable, and the opening conversation on "Lamenting Weaver Of Horror," is likely to get a guilty chuckle out of the average listener ("Please, sir, what've I done?" / "You were fucking born"). Meanwhile, tracks like "Hourglass Of Ash," about the gas chambers, and closer "Send My Love To Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz," with its spoken statistics on the number of those murdered, give a much more sinister vibe, portraying The Holocaust as the atrocity that it was. Neither direction is really overpowered by the other, and a fantastic balance is struck between the two.

A rating? You want a rating? Pfft… Sonderkommando transcends any concept of rating. As usual, The Meads Of Asphodel laugh in the face of musical norm, building some tracks with so many different layers that they might as well be labeled as "OmgWtf metal." But there's a certain respectable honesty in that, in portraying such a socially abhorred event as the Holocaust through a somewhat random musical approach that reflects the various thoughts upon it, but with a lyrical approach that balances such thoughts with an impartiality that takes no side. The Meads Of Asphodel merely present information on the topic, albeit with their signature spin. Interpreting it and formulating an opinion, in the meantime, is left to the listener.


Band profile: The Meads Of Asphodel
Album: Sonderkommando


 



Written on 28.05.2013 by
Apothecary
Your friend the witch doctor.
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InnerSelf - 28.05.2013 at 15:49  
Although my past experiences with the band were not that pleasant, your review intrigued me !
loved the review and will check the album asap.
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.05.2013 at 15:51  
Written by InnerSelf on 28.05.2013 at 15:49

Although my past experiences with the band were not that pleasant, your review intrigued me !
loved the review and will check the album asap.

If you didn't like the last ones I doubt this one will please you that much =P
InnerSelf - 28.05.2013 at 15:55  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 28.05.2013 at 15:51

Written by InnerSelf on 28.05.2013 at 15:49

Although my past experiences with the band were not that pleasant, your review intrigued me !
loved the review and will check the album asap.

If you didn't like the last ones I doubt this one will please you that much =P

I thought so but given that I was in a totally different mindset when the last one came out I'm gonna check this one out and see what might come out of it.
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.05.2013 at 15:57  
Written by InnerSelf on 28.05.2013 at 15:55

I thought so but given that I was in a totally different mindset when the last one came out I'm gonna check this one out and see what might come out of it.

Cool beans. This one is markedly less melodic and easy to get into than the last album and EP, but that might appeal to you.
Mr. Doctor - 28.05.2013 at 16:43  
Written by InnerSelf on 28.05.2013 at 15:55
I thought so but given that I was in a totally different mindset when the last one came out I'm gonna check this one out and see what might come out of it.

It took me a while to get into them. I just wasn't in the right mindset. So in my opinion it's never too late to revisit their albums to see if there's something new.
Rupert - 28.05.2013 at 16:51  
Great review, definitely got my attention on this one.
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.05.2013 at 16:58  
Written by Apothecary on 28.05.2013 at 16:51

Indeed, and that's honestly why I've been enjoying it so much, much more gritty and overall "heavy" production... much more suited for the lyrical themes, methinks. I Sonderkommando to TMOJTJ actually, but the margin of favor is admittedly very small

Not sure what you did to that quote there but it was me that said that, not Innerself =P
Apothecary - 28.05.2013 at 17:00  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 28.05.2013 at 15:57

This one is markedly less melodic and easy to get into than the last album and EP

Indeed. The sound's a lot more gritty and just overall heavy... much more suited for the lyrical themes, methinks. I've honestly been preferring Sonderkommando to The Murder Of Jesus The Jew, but my margin of favor is small
Apothecary - 28.05.2013 at 17:02  
^There ya go lol
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.05.2013 at 17:03  
Better
Unhealer - 28.05.2013 at 19:03  
I don't know why I missed this band all this time, this seems to be just for me. I'll check this out right away.
Ozman - 28.05.2013 at 21:23  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 28.05.2013 at 15:51

Written by InnerSelf on 28.05.2013 at 15:49

Although my past experiences with the band were not that pleasant, your review intrigued me !
loved the review and will check the album asap.

If you didn't like the last ones I doubt this one will please you that much =P


I didn't like any of their previous stuff, but quite enjoyed this one since it is way more coherent.
yellosfr - 28.05.2013 at 22:06  
Good review!
I agree with the label "OmgWtf metal" for this album. It was the first time I listen to them, really enjoying the different atmosphere and the particular sound of the music...

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