Meatwound is, by their own admission, a filthy band. Bathed in scum and sludge, their heavy, hard-hitting brand of metal is a reflection of the legal and political diarrhea of their native Florida. Their debut album, Addio, is a mix of punk, scuzz and sludge with a sprinkling of doom over the top of this sewage sundae. It’s a welcome excursion from the rote monotony of most metal released these days—not without its weaknesses, but a strong and promising release overall.
With a lineup comprising members of Combatwoundedveteran, The Holy Mountain, Primate Research and countless other bands, Meatwound isn’t a band of lightweights. And their music certainly isn’t either. While the album succeeds on a variety of different filthy, heavy fronts, bassist Mariano’s performance is chief among them. A guitarist for his entire life, he switched over and tackled the low end on Addio—and succeeded beyond all expectations.
Right off the bat, his work is intoxicating. Loose, sloppy, overripe and relentless, the bass lines carry the tracks below sparse guitars and deliberate, rhythmic vocals. On the opening track, “In Toilet,” it’s the bass lines that jump to the forefront. Later, Mariano pulls double duty on the instrument, using six-string guitar-like effects such as dives and slides, while simultaneously providing a thumping beat built for head bobbing.
That the bass stands out on Addio is not, in any way, a knock on the rest of the band’s musicianship. The drumming is shockingly precise and inventive for such a filthy style of sludge. The guitar is used not only for melody—if there’s anything resembling true melody on Addio—but also primarily for atmosphere. Plenty of measured feedback goes along with the power chord laden, Black Sabbath-influenced rock on “Hand of God.” And the vocals, primarily influenced by punk and hardcore, provide consistency from track to track as the backbeat changes from driving to downright bopping.
Addio is short—a mere 25 minutes elapse as six tracks float by like bloated corpses in the East River, with the longest lasting just five minutes. The mix and production makes it feel and sound as if you’re in a small room with Meatwound. That sort of DIY, punk production is what pushes Addio over the top and makes it a serious contender. In a world littered with bands that are carbon copies of one another, Meatwound is a welcome breath of “fresh” air.