THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL (Eng.)

– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL’s camp right now?

We have just finished the ‘Sonderkommando album, and the short utube documentary which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIXG_zH35g8 The album should be out now on Candlelight Records. I hope it will be received well.

– First off, as I guess some people won’t know about you yet, could you please share some story of the band? Some kind of introduction.

The band was formed in 1998 with a view to create music our way and we never expected to get a deal with Supernal Music as our music was so far off the normal.. This gave us more determination to weave our musical visage. We did a split release with Mayhem and have a lyrical theme that rips though the lies of Christianity and cruelty of Mankind. We have had some great artists on our albums like, A.C Wild [Bulldozer], Mirai [sigh], Hoest [Taake], Vincent Crowley [Acheron], Rob Miller [Amebix, [Morries [Gnaw their Tongues], Riobeard O Bogail [Mael Morha], amongst others. This adds a different dynamic to the sound and always creates a more interesting sound.

 

– You will soon release your new album, «Sonderkommando»; what are your expectations on it?

The Sonderkommando album is a reflection of the past. It is about the Holocaust and this ultimately means writing about Jews, a subject that many feel uneasy about. You either hate Jews or love them, so we will be called racists or anti fascists at the same time. It is a very sensitive subject matter and one I have studied this time frame of history in depth to try to tell an impartial view of the facts. I have learned that the Nazi’s were but a spark to the anti-Semitic powder keg just waiting to explode during the build up to the Second World War. So much hatred was unleashed that it was inevitable this complex racial intolerance would spill over into pogroms and murder.

 

– The album was inspired by a visit to Auschwitz in 2011. Would you mind to elaborate a bit on this inspiration and the concept behind the album?

The last Meads album ‘The Murder of Jesus the Jew, revealed to me the complete isolation of the Jews from western society instigated by the Roma Catholic Church. They blamed the Jews for the deicide of their Christ [who they stole from the Jews in the first place]. My studies led me through the ages of persecution and eventually the Holocaust. The Sonderkommando album is a kind of part 2, to the Jesus the Jew album,. A finality of the Jewish hatred inspired by Christianity and concluded in the violent cruelty of the Nazi war machine. I needed to visit Auschwitz to see and feel for myself the horrors I had read about. It is a stark, cold place where death crawls into your soul.

 

– In fact you got so much inspiration that some prose was recorded right there, and you wrote the lyrics in just 3 days. In fact this album gave me the feeling of being really honest and passionate, maybe that had something to do with it?

I think the music and the lyrics melt into each other and create the dripping hatred that was the Holocaust. Especially the poor Sonderkommando themselves, wretched haulers of the dead who were despised by both the Germans and their own kind. I sat in that place of death and wrote many pages of how I felt and what I gazed upon. The whole lyrical heart of the album was written within the barbed wire fences of Birkenau.

 

– And could you say the music on the new opus fits such a dark and rough theme?

Yes, I feel the whole concept tells the story of Hatred, of brutality and horror. It is an album if emotion and atmosphere with many levels of aggression. The album is a collection of historical chapters that reveal the steps that led to the actual mass murder in the concentration camps. It tells of suffering and industrial slaughter. It deals with the Action T4 euthanasia programme, the Einsatzgruppen death squads, the Germanic National Socialist frenzy of the 1930’s and the path towards racial segregation and finally elimination. The album is a history lesson that will have a more in-depth track by track analysis on the web page, www.themeadsofasphodel.com.

 

– Anyway is an album full of contrasts, heavy but clean and powerful, aggressive but with melody… How important are these contrasts for the band? As I guess you can’t create an emotional effort without opposite elements, you know, there’s no light without darkness.

Exactly and that is what the Meads of Asphodel is all about. The collision of hot and cold, rough and smooth, light and darkness, all bursting from a myriad of musical styles and sounds but all flowing though a Black Metal spine, albeit a progressive exploratory spine. I think it is well balances and creates the essential qualities that make the whole Meads of Asphodel sound. It is an honest album of what we are as a unit.

 

– For this album you’ve got a new drummer, André Kjelbergvik Thung. What has he brought new to the band?

Our previous drummer Urakbrarameel was exceptional, and the new drummer is also exceptional. Andre brings in his own style, a new dynamic to the music and that has only made the band a tighter, fluid unit.

 

– And you have also had several guest artists. Could you tell us how did this arise and what have they brought with their cooperation?

Well, our old friend, Mirai[Sigh] adds his usual keyboard genius to the track, Children of the Sunwheel Banner. He really takes the song into another revel. We wanted some deathly atmosphere on the track, Last Train to Eden, so we asked Morries from Gnaw Their Tongues to weave his desolate charm. It is a ghostly, eerie track that captures the shivering macabre emotions of the death camp. Rob, from Amebix adds some vocals to, Hour Glass of Ash, a roaring vocal that enhances the song with a punk feel, and there is a little known UK Black Metal band called Diversis, who’s female vocalist Oristalla, sound s like a victim of torture. I am so honoured this woman of hell agreed to add vocals to the track, Action T4. She really rips though your head like a hammer drill. We also have some female vocals from Christina Poupoutsi [The Higher Craft, Ebonillumini] who does a wicked job as a croaking witch on the track, Lamenting Weaver of Horror, and other vocal parts. There is also, Flute by Riobeard O Bogail [Mael Morha], and J . D Taits Father adds Saxophone.. My son even does some narration on, Lamenting Weaver of Horror’ So there is a great organic vein changing the character of the songs to diversify the whole concept and make the experience more interesting.

 

– This makes of «Sonderkommando» an ever more diverse release. Anyway you have always mixed different elements and nuances from several music styles. Due to this I would like to know what have been some of the most influential bands/genres for THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL.

For my part I would say, Sigh, Hawkwind, The Doors, but J.D Tait is influenced by everything and anything. He absorbs music like air.

 

– This time the sound is so unique in production/mixing terms that it’s hard to describe, it gives the whole album a special atmosphere. Could you please shed some light on how did this process go and what kind of sound did you go for?

J.D Tait handled the mix and it was very hard work. There is so much going on, so many levels of emotion and atmosphere. I think the mix is great and captures the course sound that we wanted for this release. It is supposed to be a very dark, mournful album that attaches itself to a certain part of History.

 

– All this about «Sonderkommando» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Pale Dread Hunger

 

– Since your debut album you’ve had a really unique and personal sound, really recognizable and can’t actually be compared to any other bans or categorised into one single style. Was this something you were looking for since the beginning? As I guess it may be easily to stand out among other Metal bands.

I always wanted to be different, unique and do what feels right and not what others perceive to be right. We did not ever follow a trend, style of musical genre. Black Metal has always been our foundations, but like other exploratory acts, Ulver, Arcturus, Sigh, we reach our beyond the usual constraints of the genre.

 

– You have also always done conceptual albums, so people must listen your albums from start to finish, and no as background music. In the digital era, where people has easy access to a lot of music, do you think it can somehow be a challenge?

I despise the digital era. Music can have such an elaborate production and yet be heard on a mobile phone where most of the fine parts of the production is lost. The whole creative part to an album, the cover, booklet is lost in this faceless digital age, but it is here and we must embrace it of be swallowed by it. The music always comes first though, and if anyone wants to look deeper into the lyrics then that is fine.

 

– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

To create more music and hopefully give pleasure to many people. That is out main reason to exist. If our music can touch others, then what more can one want? We hope to do a video also of one of the songs. Maybe it will happen this year.

 

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Many thanks for your time and interest in the Meads. We know that without the underground zines and labels, the whole existence of the music would die. Buy vinyl and cd’s from underground distro’s, keep the underground alive/ get the shirts from the bands themselves and fuck the greedy big labels and greedy shops who have fucked up the scene. Now they suffer as kids download everything for free and I suppose who can blame them?.

 

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

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