Monday, February 19, 2007

top50 - #4

4. melvins - '(a) senile animal'

Ahh, the Melvins. The oddest, most left-field and utterly essential side-effect of the early 90s Seattle craze, who after all these years are still young (at heart), fresh and invigorating. King Buzzo and his cohorts always manage to do something exciting and new with every one of their albums, and they're not new to collaborations (take the unforgettable Fantômas + Melvins Big Band album), but this time the result is even better than their insanely good norm. Basically they incorporated a whole band into the Melvins fold, with the two members of the band Big Business, Jared Warren and Coady Willis. Now, these two guys are a bass player and a drummer. Since Dale is obviously still a Melvin, do the math - two drummers.

The two drummer idea isn't a new invention, although it's a rare attempt, and it could easily have been a meaningless gimmick. But come on, this is the Melvins. so one listen to '(A) Senile Animal' is enough to not only convince you, but to floor you completely. The weight and the rumble of this album is simply unbelievable. Play this through good speakers with a hefty subwoofer (seriously, do) and the low-end will probably register on the richter scale. King Buzzo was already the king of sludgy, dragged-out riffage, but with this kind of support behind him the result is stellar. The chugga-chugga of 'Blood Witch' or the jumpy rock-on of 'A History Of Drunks' are like Black Sabbath given a spit-polish, a shot of Alice In Chains and all revved up for 2007.

Yeah, Alice In Chains. For all is not bashing away in this album - the vocal harmonies and even the riffs themselves are insanely catchy and hummable, and soon you'll have the supreme pleasure of singing along with Buzzo as the songs whirlwind around you. With two drummers, it's possible to do all kinds of crazy time signatures and that helps the tempo tremendously - in '(A) Senile Animal', nothing is boring and everything flows, the album gets angry, calms down, then jokes a bit, then thrashes the place again. Everything sounds in place, songs belong next to each other. In these days of loose mp3 (like that one down there, ha), this is a proper album, created like one and meant to be heard like one.

It's a crime to say this, considering the absolute wealth of riches that the Melvins back-catalogue provides, but this is probably their most consistent and exhilarating album ever. Fuck The Darkness or Trivium or whatever else mainstream media has tried to push as rock these past few years - this is what proper rock sounds like.

An instant classic.

song of the day:
'A History Of Drunks'


  1. Cool review. The Melvins just never made it to my list of bands to check out. This album sound fascinating.

    By the way I'm trying to hunt down some Solitude Aeturnus. My usual record store doesn't have any albums. I may have to resort to iTunes.

  2. this album is way cool, because it's a typical melvins album while being something really new too. i think it's one of the best melvins entry-points, along with 'houdini'.

    amazon has solitude aeturnus in stock, i believe. i think i have the buy links down there on the review, if you want to check it out.

  3. this album is great and I saw them last November...they gave it everything they had, awesome show, particularly with the two drummers...naturally Big Business opened

  4. I've never seen the Melvins live, it's one of my big flaws!

    Have you heard the latest Big Business album? I got the promo last week and it's amazing...