Anyone bummed out by the United States’ brutal World Cup draw can take some solace in the slogan slapped across Meadowhoof’s Facebook site: “Everything you know will one day wither, die and crumble to dust.”
Taking that into account, something like a soccer match against Germany doesn’t sound quite so bad, eh?
The local doom-metal duo, which could rightly be referred to as a group of death, brought its thundering output to Ace of Cups on a recent Thursday, conjuring an impressive amount of volume for a guitar-and-drums two-piece.
Bellower/guitarist Heath Sparks opened the show by making a simple request of the venue’s soundman: “I’d like all the reverb you’ve got.” Ask and ye shall receive, apparently. At times during the 30-minute set it sounded as though Sparks’ guitar were strung with rusted-out transatlantic cable, and the deep, rumbling tones emanating from his instrument repeatedly threatened to shake the venue from its foundation.
It was all but impossible to pick up on a single word Sparks uttered in his gremlin roar; the frontman might as well have been reading aloud from the Necronomicon — the fictional Book of the Dead — and for all I know he might have been (the lyrics published on the group’s BandCamp site allude to withered bodies and souls escaping the flesh). Though he spent a bulk of the set howling like an accursed demon, the singer remained a relatively calming presence, like the eye in the center of a particularly sludgy tornado.
Drummer Andrew Adams, in contrast, could best be described as rage given human form, and his face often twisted into a pained grimace as he punished his kit, his arms swinging down with the force of a cage fighter delivering the knockout blow.
Musically, the songs were almost universally slow and heavy, and there were a few moments when the deliberate pacing bordered on monotony. Generally, though, the duo added enough unexpected musical flourishes — a chiming riff that mimicked funeral bells, a brief-but-turbulent noise-rock tantrum — to prevent things from getting too bogged down. Life might be a drag, but Meadowhoof appears to have learned its music doesn’t need to be.