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"The Bones of this Land are not Speechless / English Black Punk Metal" (CD)

Old Corpse Road - "The Bones of this Land are not Speechless / English Black Punk Metal" CD cover image

"The Bones of this Land are not Speechless / English Black Punk Metal" track listing:

Old Corpse Road
1. Hob Headless Rises (8:42)
2. The Devil's Footprints (12:07)
3. The Witch of Wookey Hole (10:08)

The Meads of Asphodel
4. The Embalming of Gods (2:10)
5. On the Surface (7:09)
6. Same Mind (Doom cover) (2:01)
7. Nazi (Hellbastard cover) (3:22)
8. Protest and Resist (Conflict cover) (2:20)
9. War Drum (Skeptix cover) (4:55)
10. You Really Got Me (Kinks cover) (2:57)

Reviewed by on January 28, 2011

"Fans of either band will dig the sounds to be found here, as well anyone looking to broaden their horizons on rising bands from Europe that don’t always stick to a single style."

Although rarely ever as engaging as a full-length album from a single outfit, split releases are an excellent way for metal fans to find new bands and hear new takes on standard formulas. “The Bones of this Land are not Speechless/English Black Punk Metal” sees Old Corpse Road and The Meads of Asphodel joining forces to show off how the folks in the U.K. create metal that leans toward the blacker side. Fans of either band will dig the sounds to be found here, as well anyone looking to broaden their horizons on rising bands from Europe that don’t always stick to a single style.

Although the music is never strictly black metal in the pure sense of the word, both bands exude an old school feeling that has its roots in European extreme metal and even punk. Old Corpse Road has the strongest black metal connection, firmly bringing to mind the early work from Hecate Enthroned or even Cradle of Filth. The stage names of the various members gives a good idea of where the band is coming from, with pseudonyms like The Bearer, The Dreamer, The Watcher, The Revenant, etc.

Only three tracks land on the Old Corpse Road side of the split, but they actually make up the bulk of the album. The eight to twelve minute songs make good use of keyboards and varying vocal styles for thick atmosphere. From quickly building guitar riffs to occult themed chants and many different types of growls and shrieks, the band has a solid grasp on how to create very specific moods at the right times.

Despite having a full seven songs on the second half of the split, The Meads of Asphodel actually contributes less overall time and original material to the release. Five of the seven tracks are covers, which are executed with varying levels of success. The punk feel comes out most strongly through the second half of the album, with offensively humorous vocals about mother Earth sucking the cock of Satan while God fucks her up the ass and everyone getting covered in shit.

The Meads of Asphodel is generating quite a bit of buzz right now with the new album “The Murder of Jesus the Jew” (reviewed here), but based on these songs that buzz seems fairly overhyped. The two original tracks from the band are decent, but nothing revolutionary to write home to mom about. The repeating chant of “On The Surface” on the track of the same name is botched pretty badly, and gets actively annoying quickly.

A random cover of “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks finishes off the split, and is actually The Meads of Asphodel’s crowning achievement. Although it’s drastically different in feel and subject matter from the rest of the songs, the cover is a great example of what metal can do when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s absolutely priceless when a demonic voices screams out “Girl, you really got me now….Oh Fuck!”

Both sides of the split have slightly muddy production and sound, but overall Old Corpse Road comes out on top to showcase the band’s talent. Anyone who finds themselves frequently listening to old symphonic black metal albums from the U.K. will be in heaven for the three songs the band provides. The Meads of Asphodel is probably the better known name, but unfortunately the band’s showing here doesn’t stand up to the quality of the opening act, although hardcore fans will likely still find plenty to enjoy.

Highs: Good old school charm all around, plus great symphonic black metal from Old Corpse Road and a hilariously awesome cover from The Meads of Asphodel

Lows: The sound isn't perfect, and most of the second side of the split isn't anything amazing

Bottom line: Good showings all around from both bands and a solid choice if you like old school U.K. black metal infused with punk

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)