Review by: A.A
Album assigned by: Syd Spence
Dirty stoner rock riffs; dazed, far-out, almost wispy vocals drowned in the haze and standing in contrast to all the mucky fuzz; and slow, loosened up drumming. This is the formula Dead Meadow keep using on their eponymous opus. Now, stoner rock and doom metal are the kind of music I used to be hugely into in my youth and evaluating this album for the review brings back old memories of being a Seeker of the Riff ™, though this is hardly the kind of music I listen to anymore.
We start off with a quiet buzz on “Sleepy Silver Door” that leads into a monstrous riff and eventually progresses into one hell of a slow jam, whereas “Indian Bones”’ heavy psych indulgences evoke in me images of a stoned out shaman doing his voodoo in front of a fire and inhaling as much the pot smoke as the noxious fire smoke. “Dragonfly” has a somewhat post-rocky ambiance backed by repetitive drum beats.
The next track, “Lady”, reminds me a bit of Manfred Mann Chapter 3’s “Travelling Lady”, except that, of course, there are no trumpets or jazz influences here. “Greensky Greenslade” is full of slow doomy blues playing and conjures an atmosphere of early morning rain. “Beyond the Fields We Know” is probably the standout track for me. If the album is soundtrack to a rolling-out-the-joints session (as stoner albums usually are), this might well be the high point of the whole trip. “At The Edge of the Wood” has folksy acoustic beginnings, and pretty much qualifies for a troubadour ballad. “Rocky Mountain High” features some kind of spacey synths towards an end that gets kind of slightly terrifying at least the first time you listen to it. The ending track simply named “Untitled” is mostly an anthemic guitar tune and clocks a short two minutes span, ending quietly without making any fuss.
There’s variation, certainly, although the overall sound does not go through any drastic changes. The riffs are interesting and the blues excursions quite lively. The drumming is laid back and relaxedly precise. In fact, the entire album is permeated with certain tranquility, as if not especially or excessively concerned about breaking any new ground but simply about doing a good job at recreating the good old stoner psych formulae with some indications of an individualistic sound. Hey, this is stoner rock after all!