February 26, 2024

Melvins – “A Walk With Love and Death” is heavier than a collection of very heavy things

Ipecac Recordings                7 July 2017

Heavier than ever (how do they do that after two dozen previous albums?); The Melvins are doing heavy business as usual on this double album set. With maximum heaviosity, the first album is still straight-forward to get a grip on, thanks to the band being a trio – Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald. The classic rock line up is three simple loci of sound, just perfect when band members have it just right.

Sober-delic has a steady open roll allowing a wide plain for the guitar to play on but Euthanasia is extremely sludgy, with Buzz all plaintive in a chugging sea of guitar and drums. What’s Wrong With You is a speedy little thing, nipping along and delivering a two and a half minute psych-pop ditty, Melvins style. You’ve got to laugh at the song titles, since Edgar The Elephant follows then the magnificent single, Christ Hammer, with a nice guitar figure atop chugging riffs. The other stand-out is Cardboro Negro, a slab of psych-grunge.

Which leads us to the second disc, a strange concoction sound-tracking a film. An assemblage of dialog, synths, jazzy drums, vocal distortion, feedback, howling guitar, random tunelessness, oscillator sounds, snatches of jams. It’s a creative collage and startling to listen directly to, alternatively providing a very loud and very strange background for hoovering.

You won’t be hearing either of these discs on mainstream radio any time soon yet someone needs to celebrate the relentless plod of the mighty sludge, the never-ending riff-chug of The Melvins.

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