Sometimes, I like to kick back and take a break from all the heavy rock and metal that I usually flock to with open arms. I’ve always felt that it’s good to have a bit of musical diversity. Doing so helps me appreciate artists that I would normally steer completely away from. So I looked at the opportunity of reviewing the new Dead Meadow DVD, ‘Three Kings’, with a tenuous excitement. Here was a chance to not only listen to an album for review purposes but also a chance to get some visual accompaniment that would (hopefully) take the listening experience to the next level.
From the moment the DVD started, I knew that this was something that I would need to become very comfortable for. It wouldn’t do to just sit down and watch this. For this experience, I needed to close the blinds, pour myself a nice drink, lay back on my couch and just let the rest unfold.
Dead Meadow ‘Three Kings’ plays out like a visual journey interspersed with scenes of the band playing the live show that you are hearing. I found this to be very refreshing as I have many live DVD’s and after the first few songs, there isn’t really anything much more to offer. You’ve seen the crowd, you’ve seen the band, and you’ve seen the gear. Something needs to change in order to keep my attention besides wanting to see my favorite songs. I can just skip forward for that. However, with ‘Three Kings’, that’s not really an option as each song has new footage that adds to the story. On top of that, the music was hypnotic and the idea of moving, even to grab the DVD remote, seemed unbearable.
The video quality is in general very high. While not as stylized as Dark Tranquillity’s ‘Where Death Is Most Alive’, it certainly does not suffer poor quality. That being said, there are times when the video is purposefully grainy and looks like it was shot on a home camcorder but these moments are reserved for material that is NOT part of the story (a.k.a. band interviews, street shots during touring, etc…).
The visual FX are very well done and don’t look cheap. Without revealing any spoilers, there is a moment where a lot of blood hits a wall and it looks very good. During the times where CGI is used, it doesn’t look cheap or dated. Rather it blends in very well with the rest of the shot. During ‘Beyond The Fields We Know’, there are several minutes of animated footage that reminded me of a modern take on some 70’s animations mixed with a touch of AEnima era Tool-artist Cam De Leon. The whole vibe of the concert and the movie is very 70’s, so if that’s your thing, you’ll find yourself in good territory.
The music is jam band, stoner psychedelic rock that has influences of Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, Cream, Soft Machine and even some earlier Pink Floyd. It is usually slow moving with long, sustained guitar solos that have that signature Orange Amps fuzz/distortion tone so coveted and loved by stoner rock/metal bands. The production is overall solid although I’d have liked the drums to be a bit more present and maybe a touch brighter.
You have to be in a really specific mood to truly appreciate this experience. This music is definitely not for everyone and the DVD movie even more so. However, if you’re one who likes to get a bunch of friends together, light up some Nag Champa and turn on a few black lights, this might very well be right up your alley. Get this playing on your TV and the night will be a success.
4 out of 5 skulls