Since the debut “Gluey Porch Treatments” (1987), Melvins have unleashed an incredible twenty-five LPs, excluding fourteen EPs and continue with their 26th full-length release to date, which just so happens to be one fat double album. Fat is the only way to describe the size of the riffs that take hold from the opening track, Black Heath.
Accompanying the distinct voice of frontman Buzz Osbourne is the bass groove of Steve McDonald. The pace is taken down a notch by longtime drummer Dale Crover on next track, Sober-dellic (acid only) which features an infectious riff courtesy of Osbourne, which rings out ‘classic’, continuing on to a bluesy guitar lead and solo.
Euthanasia is a stand out as sludge drains the listener with a thickness only Osbourne could achieve with his guitar while spitting out catchy anthems of doom and destruction. Showing the experience and creativity of the band by weaving in and out of genres like a child in an endless labyrinth, Melvins go from a sludge fest to an upbeat rocker of a tune, What’s wrong with you.
Flaming creature is a highlight with a dirty chugging riff, which builds up to guitar leads mixing wah pedals and taking distortion up to the next level. If speakers don’t explode you will make it to the next track, Christ Hammer, which is the first single for a reason. It is a good summary of what the beast of an album has in store with some inspiring guitar solos thrown into the mix of sound. It is no wonder why Kurt Cobain listed Melvins as a major influence on his music with Nirvana, especially with his guitar style. Crover even played drums briefly before Dave Grohl found home with the iconic grunge outfit.
Give it to me is a cool surf-rock infused number that will have you toe-tapping to the bouncing bass and synthesizers that will send you on a time warp to the 60’s. Set yourself in for one trip with some spaced out sounds which make up the soundtrack to the Jesse Nieminen directed, self-produced short also titled “A Walk with Love and Death”. Imagine the love child of Kraftwerk and Fantomas spending the embryonic to fetal period on a heavy diet of David Lynch film and arcade games.
Not a stranger to guests, having worked on albums with Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) in the past to an ensemble of bassists including Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), Trevor Dunn ( Mr. Bungle, Fantomas), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) on the aptly -titled, “Basses Loaded” (2016); “A Walk with Love and Death” (2017), is again self-produced and engineered by Toshi Kosai with a clear sound of fuzz and chaos. Guests this time round include Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes/Crystal Fairy) and Anna Waronker (That Dog).
For a hard-working band of misfits, Melvins let loose the soundtrack to one psychotic head trip, that will latch on to the listener like a rabid dog, no tetanus shot will have the vaccine for. The dirty feeling left by the aftermath of the thick, overpowering sludge will drown the listener having them latch out for air only to hit repeat once again.