Dead Meadow: Feathers

Dead Meadow - FeathersPeople throw around terms like the “perfect” record, or describe music as being genius a little bit too often. I mean, is the new Green Day record really genius? Obviously though, there are times when these terms are right on the mark. DC’s Dead Meadow may have achieved what is essentially the most perfect heavy rock album. What started out as a much more abrasive band has continually put themselves through a filter and wound up with something that while still heavy, is far more layered and substantial than any metal record.

Perhaps it’s the addition of a fourth member, perhaps it’s the natural progression of the collective musical experience of Dead Meadow, or perhaps it’s something we will never understand that has made Feathers equally accessible and excitable for fans of heavy guitar music and indie rock alike. The guitar work has lost all abrasion and often times takes on a meandering, drifting approach to getting it’s point across. This heavy, yet intentionally laid-back bombardment of sound is not unlike the guitar work of Bardo Pond, nor are the song structures all that different. There are times though when the guitar sounds more like very early Black Sabbath than anything else, and in fact you’ll hear a lot of different influences throughout the coarse of Feathers (when was the last time you heard alt. Country, slide guitar and heavy guitars combined seamlessly?).

The deliberate, unobtrusive song structures flow like water, pushing you along through the length of the songs, but never rushing, and never calling too much attention to the power that drives the entirety of the music. The vocals sound like mere whispers spoken from a dream or far off distances, which ultimately rounds out the entire experience. I don’t know if this will go down in history as being an album comprised of genius, or perfection for that matter, but I know that in my mind it’s already achieved both.

Chris Smith
Dead Meadow (Matador Records)