The Bulls & The Bees

Website: Download at AV/Scion
Label: Scion / AV
Writer: Rob Wallace

If you have any interest in underground music, you will be familiar with Melvins. That scene you love? Over the decades, the Melvins' sweat, blood, and big hair paved the way for that to happen.


‘The Bulls and the Bees’, released as a free download on 13th March, features the short collection of songs which were the final songs recorded by Melvins under their current guise prior to a short hiatus, wherein long-time cohorts Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover are recording and touring an album with one time collaborator Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle / Secret Chiefs 3).


There’s no denying that their extensive discography has significant gaps in terms of quality; from much lauded, career-defining releases like ‘Bullhead’, ‘Houdini', or ‘Stoner Witch’ to more experimental releases on Ipecac, to the downright woeful ('Prick’). However, their tenacity and dedication to heavy music experimentation make it easy to understand why so many bands count Melvins has a primary influence.


Much like their initial ‘Trilogy’ release on Ipecac a decade ago, their last three albums, ‘(A) Senile Animal’, ‘Nude with Boots’, and ‘The Bride Screamed Murder’ could realistically be viewed as companion pieces – their sound having rarely progressed over this time, cemented in part by a steady and consistent line-up, with Jared Warren and Coady Willis of punk noise duo Big Business.


If you're a casual listener, opening salvo ‘The War on Wisdom’ is a perfect introduction to the sound of latter-day Melvins. Buzz Osborne’s sludgy, driving guitar provides the drummers with the perfect backdrop to establish their artistic license, being reigned in only by an unexpected mid-section sounding like The Cult played through Poundland speakers.


‘We Are Doomed’ starts life as a grimy slice of dissonant bass-heavy noise, not unlike Celan. Alas, the 7 minute slow-burner you expect to follow never materialises, and instead you’re presented with perhaps a Melvins take on the humble ballad, with tinges of Southern Rock and nods towards their Kiss cover, ‘Going Blind’, before returning to the down-tuned sludge riffs and loose percussion bringing the song to conclusion.


This is a quality but hardly career-defining release which feels like a natural continuation of ‘The Bride Screamed Murder’ as opposed to a progression. 'The Bull and the Bees' is unlikely to garner a legion of new fans for Melvins, but there’s certainly enough quality to tide the diehard over until the release of new album proper in the summer.

Melvins - The War on Wisdom (2012)

#Melvins #Rock #Scion / AV #sludge #EP #Rob Wallace

Posted: Wed 14 March 2012