Rating:
8.0
The Wandering Midget - From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams
30 November 2012


01. Prince Of Fire
02. Temples In The Sky
03. She Wolf
04. The Forest Lights


Quick! Guess the band's style! They call themselves The Wandering Midget, their latest offering is titled From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams, and although I could be wrong (and probably am), the album's artwork seems to depict guys on camels wandering through some strange alien landscape with a bunch of spirit-like hands reaching up from the ground. If you guessed that this is a stoner doom release, then congratulations: you know your metal subgenre aesthetics. Yup, The Wandering Midget are about as stoner as they come, so much so that if you look close enough at this album's cover you can almost see the THC crystals hidden within the paint design. Anywho, if the band's name and the silly, yet amusing title of their 2012 output weren't enough to give it away, their music surely will.

The four track album kicks off with "Prince Of Fire" and at first glance it appears that The Wandering Midget are sticking true to the most strict guidelines of their genre possible, choosing not to wander too far off the field into more original realms. Indeed, the opener sounds a lot like a Candlemass track doesn't it? Especially with the deep vocals and powerful, memorable chorus ("When the moon is full you can hear them coming/Prince of fire and disciples of hell/Evil will prevail"). The band's rumblings continue to the end, with a brief, though well-delivered, little bluesy solo on behalf of the guitarist. So, it would seem, this is just going to be yet another typical, formulaic stoner doom release, right?

Well, not entirely. You see, the first track on From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams is a bit of a misnomer, because all three subsequent tracks are 10 minute+ mammoths of noise that, although not containing anything seriously avant-garde and out-of-the-box, do manage to pack in a few more interesting moments among their long structures. "Temples In The Sky," for example, begins with a very dreamlike guitar melody that later evolves into droney riffs which the vocals get sprinkled over, which then degenerate into a dreamlike melody once again around the 11-minute mark, only to climax later towards the song's end. The same can be said of "She Wolf," which maintains its droney sound until about 8 minutes, after which a magnificent, psychedelic atmosphere takes over, and "Follow The Forest Lights," which also gets a lot more space-like towards its end.

Although The Wandering Midget certainly aren't the originators of massively long doom songs (*cough*Sleep*cough*Yob), they do manage to strike out an interesting balance in their music with it. That is, with the song lengths, the band manages to effectively space out the more melodic, trippy moments of the album as well as the more droney, "doomish" moments, so that the listener is never really waiting too long for either to pop up. So, although the musical style on From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams isn't entirely original, the songwriting somewhat is, and hey: a little originality is better than none at all, no? If nothing else, it definitely shows that the band put on their thinking caps for this album... either that, or it was just one of those spontaneous clever thoughts that comes to mind after a good rip of the bong. The world may never know.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 07.01.2013 by
Apothecary
Your friend the witch doctor.
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Boxcar Willy - 08.01.2013 at 04:17  
Totally guessed right. Will check out.
Ozman - 08.01.2013 at 12:39  
Even though this album is better than their debut it is still pretty and the band totally sounds like a fourth rate wannabe Reverend Bizarre clone
Apothecary - 08.01.2013 at 13:25  
Written by Ozman on 08.01.2013 at 12:39

Even though this album is better than their debut it is still pretty and the band totally sounds like a fourth rate wannabe Reverend Bizarre clone

Haven't really listened to Reverend Bizzare all that much, so I wouldn't know. If you're saying though that The Wandering Midget are pretty generic in their songwriting, then yes, they are, but that's not entirely a bad thing. A band doesn't necessarily have to be creative to be good, no?
Ozman - 08.01.2013 at 13:28  
Written by Apothecary on 08.01.2013 at 13:25

A band doesn't necessarily have to be creative to be good, no?


I agree, but they aren't good at being generic either Just an all round bad doom band they are. For example Pilgrim are also generic and sound a lot like Reverend Bizarre but are way better than TWM in that respect.
Apothecary - 08.01.2013 at 13:32  
Written by Ozman on 08.01.2013 at 13:28

Written by Apothecary on 08.01.2013 at 13:25

A band doesn't necessarily have to be creative to be good, no?


I agree, but they aren't good at being generic either Just an all round bad doom band they are. For example Pilgrim are also generic and sound a lot like Reverend Bizarre but are way better than TWM in that respect.

Hmmm... I'll take your word then, as I'm not that much of a doom expert. Really have been trying to find a lot more bands lately that incorporate more psychedelic and sometimes "spacey" leanings into the mix, kinda like Yob and Om, two of my favorites. Any recommendations my good sir?
Ozman - 08.01.2013 at 13:34  
Then you should look in the stoner corner of all things doomy and not in the traditional or epic corner of things. Btw last Om has nothing to do with doom or metal whatsoever.
Ozman - 08.01.2013 at 13:35  
Btw I know a couple of huge doom fans who think this TWM album is great but also quite a few who like me think it is crap. So it seems opinions in doom land are split right down the middle concerning this new TWM album
Apothecary - 08.01.2013 at 13:40  
Written by Ozman on 08.01.2013 at 13:34

Then you should look in the stoner corner of all things doomy and not in the traditional or epic corner of things. Btw last Om has nothing to do with doom or metal whatsoever.

A lot of people are saying that, especially on the review of Advaitic Songs that I wrote. I suppose because of their recent folklorish leanings? I dunno, they always sounded like a stoner band to me. Honestly it's really only been with God Is Good and Advaitic Songs that they've started getting a lot weirder (better, in my opinion) with their composition.
Merchant of Doom - 08.01.2013 at 17:48  
It's so bad I quite like it...

Carrion Misery - 14.01.2013 at 16:06  
I was guessing they'd be some sort of folk metal. When I first read their name, I thought of short dude in The Safety Dance, and the music video sort of reminds me of folk metal. Probably could make a pretty sweet cover heh. But I guess I was off.



Anyways, the music isn't too bad, but I'm not too interested in this genre. At this point, all I need is Pallbearer (I'm sure hardcore stoner doom fans rolled their eyes there) to satisfy what the rest of these bands can bring to the table. I feel Pallbearer incorporates that occult/mysticism/obscure classic rock sound just right where it isn't too cheesy, overreaching or overly retro. However, I think this genre has the coolest album art around.
Apothecary - 14.01.2013 at 20:18  
Written by Carrion Misery on 14.01.2013 at 16:06

At this point, all I need is Pallbearer (I'm sure hardcore stoner doom fans rolled their eyes there) to satisfy what the rest of these bands can bring to the table. I feel Pallbearer incorporates that occult/mysticism/obscure classic rock sound just right where it isn't too cheesy, overreaching or overly retro. However, I think this genre has the coolest album art around.

Nah it's cool man, Pallbearer are the shit. And yeah, so is the album cover

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