Martin : The music business is changing, or is it? U2 is giving away albums for free, Taylor Swift is not so happy about that prospect and manages to put pressure on Apple, and record labels are still reluctant to change their doomed business models. Meanwhile, those who really don’t need to make more money try to find new ways to squeeze the last cents out of the audience, and the underground remains the underground, happily ever after. It’s 2015 but the 12” split is still very much alive. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Meads Of Asphodel have been releasing a steady stream of split releases since their inception, and the quality of their work has remained equally steady. One can say that it’s business as usual for Metatron and his merry band of demented black metallers. Of course in this case ‘business as usual’ means brutal British black metal, psychedelics, historically accurate tales of torture, blood and gore, an intro that reeks of Pirates Of The Caribbean, and a rather liberal interpretation of a Florence & The Machine hit single, all in one eighteen minute song. It seems The Meads are always trying to balance on the edge of being seriously brutal and taking the piss out of everything, and somehow they manage to fall over both edges at the same time. It’s a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of thing, so if you know this band, you know exactly what to expect.
Tjolgtjar, however, is a bit of a different story. Whether the stereotypical nineties black metal with eighties metal vibes, a lofi seventies production and sixties psychedelic freakouts is brilliant or retarded… I simply don’t know. For sure it’s nothing in between. Between the cardboard drums, silly vocals and woefully out of key guitars there are surely some interesting riffs to be found, and Tjolgtjar’s music is not without a certain inexplicable charm. It might take ten thousand listens to figure this out, and that in itself is quite a unique selling point.