Uncommon music criticized by the common man. (Or, exercises in futility masquerading as critical thought.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Call Down The (Gods of) Thunder

I said this over on the other blog, but it's worth repeating: you must go get the new Melvins disc, A Senile Animal. I just cannot stop listening to it. I've been waking up to it all week, it's what I listen to on the way to and from work, and it's on in the evenings. Now, I'm not listening exclusively to it, but I might as well be. Every time I put on another disc, no matter how good (like, say, Gospel's The Moon Is A Dead World, or what I'm listening to as I type this, Om's Variations On A Theme), I wind up putting on The Melvins right after.

Now, my obsession (which will wane with time) is not the most compelling reason to hear this disc. Obviously, it's the music, which is some of the most straightforward and furiously rockin' stuff they've released in some time. Sure, there's nothing on here they haven't really done before. After all, they've been around 20 years and have put out nearly as many albums (if not more) and have never been ones to shy away from experimentation. Consequently, short of a complete stylistic makeover, there's not much "new" they haven't already tried before. This time out, however, they seem to have distilled everything that has made them great into one mindblowing elixir. And, okay, I lied. There are a couple of new wrinkles. Namely, there's the addition of new members Jared Warren on bass and Coady Willis as a second drummer, aka the hard rock duo Big Business. Not only do they add extra-heaviness to an already punishing rhythmic base, but they give it a little swing, too. And, perhaps the most surprising element is the vocal harmonies featured on a number of songs, used to best effect on the song "Civilized Worm", which starts off as a mid-tempo rocker but before long becomes an anthemic ass-kicker and a perfect example of what I love so much about this album. It could be because I've started to ignore/tune-out most vocals (listening to a lot of death/black metal will do that to you), but the harmonies really are a welcome addition to Melvins already potent formula.

Best of all, there's not one track I want to skip when I listen to this. Even the last two tracks, which sound anti-climactic in the wake of the money shot that is "A History Of Bad Men", are worth sticking around for.