Dead Meadow

Shivering King and Others

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    9
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On their third album, Shivering King and Others, Dead Meadow continues to prove just how apt their name is, crafting vast guitar epics that have all the beauty and strangeness of a frostbitten field at midnight. While both their self-titled debut and Howls From the Hills showed power and promise, they were still defined and confined by the heavy influence of forebears such as Zeppelin and Hendrix, as well as by contemporaries such as Bardo Pond. On this album -- which is also their Matador debut -- Dead Meadow seems to have found their own voice and pared their music down until it reflects nothing but their essence. The stunning opener, "I Love You Too," proves this immediately: based on a riff that's equally heavy and haunting, it unfolds over seven minutes, ebbing and flowing with squalling solos and Jason Simon's moody, reverb-cloaked vocals. The rest of the album follows suit, offering relatively concise, powerful rockers like "Bubbling Flower" and the title track; eerie, slow-burning ballads like "Everything's Going On" (which appears in a dramatically different form than it did on Howls From the Hills) and "Wayfarers All"; and chiming acoustic numbers like "Heaven" and "Good Moanin'." That the bulk of Shivering King and Others finds Dead Meadow operating in one of these three modes is far from disappointing, though, since the band's ideas and execution have come such a long way in just a few years. A spooky sleekness winds its way through even the album's most scorching rockers, coming to the fore on brief cuts like "She's Mine" and more expansive ones like the finale, "Raise the Sails." Bludgeoning and beautiful all at once, Shivering King and Others is Dead Meadow's finest work to date and the album that their fans always knew they had it in them to make.

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