Review: Lana Harris
|More than 25 years making music, the Melvins are credited with influencing scores of bands (including Nirvana and Soundgarden) but no one sounds just like them. Their creations are grungy, often slow but still powerful and slide into sludgy metal territory occasionally. They have two drummers in what is currently a four member outfit (got to expect a few line up changes in two and a half decades) who have been together for three albums now.
On The Bride Screamed Murder the Melvins are, if not experimental, at the very least non traditional in their music arrangements. There’s never a sense of
bowing to any kind of convention in the music. When voice is used, it’s as an instrument itself, not as a way of conveying opinion or an observation set to music, and they don’t stick to one time signature or tempo. If you’re unprepared for this, the way the songs play out is disorienting. My first listen of The Bride Screamed Murder, particularly the first two tracks, left me wondering what was going on. ‘Evil New War God’ comes to an almost dead stop before changing direction. I thought it had skipped to track three but it was still the same song.
Despite my initial confusion, there was enough I recognised as good music to want to go back and listen again. Each play of the record, the confusion was lessened, giving way to a realisation of the planned complexities in the music. This is definitely an LP that grows on you, whose creativity and intelligence is revealed as you get to know it better. The more you listen, the more you like it until it becomes addictive. Stand out tracks were ‘Pig House’ which is a more traditional rock style arrangement, and ‘Electric Flower’ which has a serious, disciplined feel, opening with arpeggios that get sideswiped by powerful riffs, building a sense of dark anticipation that is broken down by explosive voice work. These elements are then repeated, each time in different ways, the anticipation rebuilding before being destroyed again throughout the song. This is in no way typical of other tracks though, which are just as likely to leave you hanging, slowing down and bringing in strange new elements from the top of the keyboard and what sure sounds like puppies squealing (‘Hospital Up’) until the song drops off.
There is a quote by Franz Kafka that goes something like this… You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you -to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. This is how you need to listen to The Bride Screamed Murder. With full attention, without preconceptions, until its brilliance is freely revealed.
Buy the Melvins CD here…
The Melvins release The Bride Screamed Murder via Ipecac Recordings
The Bride Screamed Murder is the third release featuring Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Big Businesses’ Coady Willis and Jared Warren.
While the Melvins recently celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary, the latest incarnation debuted with the highly-praised (A) Senile Animal (2006) and continued with Nude With Boots (2008).
The Melvins did all the good things a band can do and are still relevant after more than 25 years. They keep it exciting by ignoring any set of rules, by their exorbitant ability to make the most beautiful noise ever heard – and by their HUMOR!, which is an essential brandmark of the Melvins.
They never compromise or apply for anything – they just do their very own thing in their very own way. They always keep it challenging for themselves and potential listeners.
– In Australia through Shock