"The Murder of Jesus the Jew" sees Metatron and The Meads taking the role of the Biography Channel by telling the story of one of the most important figures in human history. The controversial album describes the life and times of Jesus himself through an hour of hallucinating black metal, encompassing every dimension of music born of this universe and the next; a common theme often associated with The Meads of Asphodel. Maybe though, this could be their finest hour. After all, Metatron said making an album which chronologically detailed the life and death of Jesus was something he always wanted to birth, and the band's growing reputation has turned heads from all over the world. At their most vulnerable and with Golgotha at stake, can The Meads prevail?
As a matter of fact, yes, they do. Perhaps not in the most graceful fashion, but this release is pretty spot-on and enjoyable. As usual, the rules, norms, customs, ideas, philosophies and expectations of typical music are all told to get the fuck out. The Meads are loopier than ever and avoid artistic flinches from the craziness that ensues; the only predictable aspect of their music is their unpredictability. In fact, the opening sequence portrays the gruff, grizzly voice of Metatron citing a prelude to the story of Jesus before a circus keyboard melody suffocates the musical atmosphere. Oh yes, this is the only beginning. Soon the band vomits forth the gigantic "My Psychotic Sand Deity," which explodes in heavy riffs, but soon circles into a dramatic guitar solo and operatic vocals and finally concludes on a ridiculously-awesome lead and uppity riffing with more black metal at bat. Clap beats surround "The Apocalypse of Lazarus," and the seminal "Addicted to God" shifts from a catchy verse-chorus texture to an excellent show tune passage(!), and concludes in more butt-kicking furiousness; it's one of the finest musical grandeurs I've ever heard, no joke.
Simpler winds blow on most of the remaining record as the musical charades are slightly broken down, yet not enough to cease the gleeful confusion which many will experience. Medieval folk sections make frequent appearances too, again proving The Meads can bend and beneficially fit anything they want into their music for whatever reason. There's a little decline in content from "Genesis to Death" to the album's finale, however; the ideas seem parched and somewhat bland compared to the electric storm which began this massive story. Overall nothing to complain about, but the lapse in substance is very obvious. Finally, you'll also notice Taake frontman Hoest and the eccentric Mirai Kawashima of Sigh fame make sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated cameos throughout "The Murder of Jesus the Jew" as well, and that, my friends, is "The Murder of Jesus the Jew." Woo hoo.
If you find yourself a trifle disturbed or shaky about the song titles, then head over to The Meads' website and read Metatron's Codex: a monolithic description of the record's concept and lyrics that should clear up any questions or concerns you may have about "The Murder of Jesus the Jew." After all, the lyrical journey, being as vivid and primal as they come, is on par with the riveting influences and instrumental techniques which march through The Meads' themed opus of life and deicide. It may be difficult to take this seriously at some points, but "The Murder of Jesus the Jew" makes for an interesting and fantastic listening experience overall.