20 October 2013
Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
Some bands are blessed with longer careers for good reasons, some have a mixed ball of a recording life, some are shite and some are just out there; The Melvins are a very strange bunch even by my level of strange. I mean at time they confuse the living buggery out of me just by doing what they normally do, and sometimes they enthral me with their strange covers, time signatures, bowel moving notes, strange stories and chaos. At the moment I am in a strange inbetween time where it might be the best try to tackle a review of them. When 'The Bride Screams Murder' was released The Melvins were a four piece, with King Buzzo and Dale Cover continuing their work with Big Business duo Jared Warren and Coady Willis and this was the third studio album to be released with this formation. In this incarnation of the band there are two drummers which brings a much different dynamic to the whole band. So let’s see what this produced.
Starting off with savage attack that is "The Water Glass" there is an air of menace and attack, being driven with that opening guitar attack, fierce bass and primitive drum attack before morphing into a crowd chanting anthem that would get gig goers changing and replying in mass unison. It is strange but makes perfect sense in the world of The Melvins and show cases the two drummer dynamic perfectly. "Evil New War God" continues the aggression and is proof that these guys have not mellowed out with age. If anything they gain a new fire in their collective bellies. The riff on "Evil..." is a classic piece of sludge that will have people going weaker at the knees - seriously it is that good. Following that is "Pig House" with feels like the more meaty version of "Pearl Bomb" from 'Houdini' and I mean that as a compliment; that is quite possible my favourite song from that album and "Pig House" shares the similar manic and calculated tone which is one of most favourite things about The Melvins.
Then we move onto "I'll Finish You Off" which bring the epic monster riff that should have many a sludge punk band either learning really fast or packing up their gear and giving up; and then they break it down into some sort of funeral march to the end of days - fantastic. Only four tracks in and this album is shaping up to be a jem already, at this point it would be customary for the album to fall apart for me (it has happened with all sorts of records recently); thankfully this album just takes it up a notch with the hypnotic release that is "Electric Flower". I love the way that the riff just keeps twisting and changing through the song, also the solo is kick ass as well. Then comes the slightly mellower "Hospital Bed"; I say slightly mellower, it is for these guys. I like it when they mix it up and this is what they are doing here, changing the norm, always pushing in the search for something different; something that King Buzzo always strives for and he is known not to be afraid of changing things to make them better. The ending is particularly fascinating, something that would not be out of place on a Frank Zappa album - and we all know how much I love those.
For the final trio of songs on this record, we have the shortest song and the two longest songs as well. Starting the final third is the odd ball that is "Inhumanity And Death". When I say odd ball, it is because it is the most normal of the lot. The fast punk riff and sludge rumblings which was a hallmark of all their earlier work, this is not a bad thing but it does stand out against the rest of the work on here as a bit of an oddity (but what isn't odd with these cheeky chaps?). Then comes one of the best covers I have ever heard and it is a fuckin' Who song. They make "My Generation" into a slow pulsating piece of genius, I love it when covers strip away and refigured into a new formation. For almost 8 minutes they keep this and make it fascinating. Then to end the album they unleash the final curve ball of the record - "P.G. X 3". Starting with a haunting harmonica solo which gives way to a low vocal harmonic in a Gaelic sense, it has the beginnings that would make most people wonder if someone has changed the cd when you were not looking. But it makes perfect sense, it is drawing the audience in, making them sense a slight discord against what has came before - then comes the echoing hall guitar solo which should stir the heart of anyone who is blessed with the trio of gifts called life, hearing and a decent taste of music. After that you have a few countdowns going on in the music with some feedback to bring in the third movement of the song which are just bizarre (especially when the number 4 keeps on getting said. But it makes for a strange ending to a brilliant album.
So overall what is the end verdict - whilst this is still the strange band of old, I feel that the work with Big Business gave the band a new lease of life. This is a very accessible part of their discography, yet it still has the strangeness which I have come to expect from this band of rouges. It might not be perfect, but if they made a perfect record with no flaws I might be scared.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
There is no official Melvins website (it just take you to their t-shirt store) - but here is a fan ran one
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
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