If you've had the chance to experience the avant-garde black metal style of British act The Meads of Asphodel before, you no doubt already know to expect the unexpected, as this band really doesn't quite fit into any neat little box and always likes to keep their fans on their toes. Sonderkommando is a concept album of sorts, inspired by vocalist Metatron's 2011 trip to Auschwitz, and tells the tale of the Holocaust, black metal style. States the singer ""It is a cold, eerie place where death laughs and the world spins blindly past. I couldn't even begin to imagine the suffering of the children here. I forgot about Jews and Nazi's for a moment and just looked upon pure hatred, and human beings slaughtered for sadistic self gratification under the veil of a flawed ideology." So, as you can imagine, this is not 'happy music' by any means, but the band have done a great job conveying the hatred, evil, and suffering of this historical atrocity, and at the same time enveloping it all within punishing yet sophisticated music.
This is not your standard black metal, though many of the elements we've come to know and love about the genre are here (occasional blast beats, rapid fire guitar riffing, and a wide range of violent vocals). Metatron can basically do it all, from anguished screams, evil rasps, deep growls, as well as some excellent clean melodic vocals. As such, he's playing all the parts in this sad and horrific tale, and does a fine job. Some of the musical passages are soaring and quite majestic, and others simply brutal and unrelenting. No matter whether the band is delivering light or dark, it's all epic in scope, and rarely do you hear a band of this nature crafting such well rounded material within an extreme metal framework. The added bits of doom, folk, prog, and jazz elements only further adds to the overall effect here, and some very cool female vocals are dropped in as well that when paired with Metatron's clean vocals makes this all sound like an extreme version of Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime.
With this special achievement now under their belt, I have a hard time thinking that The Meads of Asphodel will remain an underground act for much longer. Fans of well crafted epic extreme metal would be well advised to seek this one out.
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