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Melvins - A Senile Animal (Cover Artwork)

Melvins

Melvins: A Senile AnimalA Senile Animal (2006)
Ipecac Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There is a story I will tell you about how evil came into the world. Once upon a time, all the witch people from around the world came together for a conference to see who could cook up the scariest thing. They took lots of approaches, for instance, making charms and potions, etc. Finally, there was.
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There is a story I will tell you about how evil came into the world. Once upon a time, all the witch people from around the world came together for a conference to see who could cook up the scariest thing. They took lots of approaches, for instance, making charms and potions, etc. Finally, there was one witch left who hadn't done anything; all that the witch had was a story. She told them the story and it was an awful thing full of fear, slaughter, disease and blood. When she was finished all the others agreed she had won but they begged her to take it back. Unfortunately, once a story is told it can never be called back.1 The name of this story had to have been the Melvins.

For the past 20 years the Melvins have been unleashing their murky hybrid of metal and hardcore punk to create some of the most interesting and twisted heavy rock to ever have been made. A Senile Animal is no exception to this rule and in fact to its credit is a lot more focused than some of the band's more recent output. The group is now a four-piece, having added the rhythm section of Big Business to the formidable talents of King Buzzo and Dale Crover. Regarding the band's lengthy output I'd say they were usually always a drummer's band, now with two drummers that is more evident than ever.

The album starts off with one of the best examples of this phenomenal percussion with "The Talking Horse." Around halfway through the song there is a drum attack involving some really nice cymbal and block or cowbell work. It is classic Melvins in more than the tight drumming. The guitar lines scratch at your ears, droning along but at such a pace that it never becomes monotonous. While the band has previously delved into some prog-rock and psychedelic territory they largely stay away from that kind of thing on this release. However, the vocals of the various band members tend to get layered atop each other, which gives a slight psychedelic effect but adds to the overall creepiness in songs such as the aforementioned "The Talking Horse." In fact, the vocal arrangement is slightly choir-like at times, something like fellow northwesterners Nomeansno might do. Unlike a great majority of heavy music, which can tend to be repetitive and boring to casual listeners, the variety is quite clear, from the stop start motion of "Blood Witch" to the unique but equally pounding drum intros on "A History of Bad Men" and "Civilized Worm."

Another highlight of the album for me was the self-production. When so many releases in punk and metal can sound like glossy pieces of turd, the Melvins bring back grit to rock'n'roll. This is no more apparent than the dark, garage-y punk strut walked on "A History of Drunks" which sounds more authentically 'garage' than most modern garage rock bands since the New Bomb Turks have come and gone.

Chances are if you like the Melvins but have lost touch with them recently this will bring you right back in. If you have always loved them, you will likely continue to do so. This has given me an excuse to go back and listen to Houdini and Stoner Witch too; if you haven't listened to the Melvins I suggest start with those, but check this out as well.

Footnotes:

1. This paragraph is a paraphrase from pg. 9 in Thomas King's book The Truth About Stories, check it out stud.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Jesus Lizard - GoatMinutemen - Double Nickels on the DimeBlack Flag - DamagedFugazi - In On The Kill TakerDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeHot Snakes - Audit In ProgressIsis - PanopticonThe Bronx - The Bronx (2006)Melvins - HoudiniJello Biafra With The Melvins - Never Breathe What You Can't See

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
BrandonSideleau (November 2, 2006)

Their Lustmord split was awesome. You guys dont know what the fuck you're talking about. Everything these guys release is gold.

SloaneDaley (November 2, 2006)

Pigs of The Roman Empire is more atmospheric and progy I enjoyed it but not that much. This is a lot more straightforward and actually rocks. I guess download it to see, or try Houdini which is possibly their easiest to get into.

Not-To-Regret (November 2, 2006)

I d/l the Melvins w/ Lustmord or Mustlord or whatever, Pigs of The Roman Empire... something along those line, and I thought it was terrible, atmospheric metal if I recall? Something like that, I just remember strongly dislking it. Are they agressive metal? or what. Someone fill me in here I didn't bother reading the review, maybe mustlord sucks?

SloaneDaley (November 2, 2006)

only 8==> ? the Melvins have 8==============>

Anonymous (November 2, 2006)

Mxpx = 8==>

Jim_Neighbors (November 1, 2006)

Noob Saibot, youse my only friend

Jesse (November 1, 2006)

Big Business is awesome. Bassist from Karp and drummer from Murder City Devils. The last album is HUGE, but to me it just sounds like Karp dropped their guitarist, got a better drummer, and wrote more concise songs.

GreenVandal (November 1, 2006)

"good to know about Big Business never listened to them before but they seem really talented based on this so I wouldn't doubt that they could carry a whole album with just them."

I think you weould like them. I say this because you like the Melvins and they have a very Melvins-ish sound. I don't have much experience with these guys, but i understand what that their trademark is - to put it simply - sludgy hardcore with some metal for good measure. Anyway, It makes alot of sense that those guys are now in the Melvins. Good for them!

elguapo (November 1, 2006)

score is for everything the Melvins have ever done(including Prick and Collosus of Destiny)

SloaneDaley (November 1, 2006)

oh and about the cover art, mine is different, dunno if it is a Canadian thing or what.

SloaneDaley (November 1, 2006)

good to know about Big Business never listened to them before but they seem really talented based on this so I wouldn't doubt that they could carry a whole album with just them.

GreenVandal (November 1, 2006)

I actually read the review now and I think it's funny that you say they added the rhythm section of Big Business. Big Business IS a rhythm section. Thats it. It's only a large man on bass and a skinny dude who can play the drums like no ones fucking business. (In a funny coincidence, I saw them open for the Blood Brothers) I like that band.

GreenVandal (November 1, 2006)

Wheres the Blood Brothers interview?

Oh, and that is some awesome cover art. The only album I ever heard by these kinds was called like....Gluey Porch or somehting like that. I was not a fan. Have heard snippets of things since then and have liked them better, so I will give this one a the benefit of the doubt.

Kudos to Punknews for putting this above Aiden on the reviews coloumn. You know that one is gonna get more hits/comments, but this is an important underground band and they deserve to be recognized for their influence.

sfbarker (November 1, 2006)

I got a press copy of this...slayed tang. Totally killer album. The Melvins are so much better than most bands in the world. Love these guys.

SloaneDaley (November 1, 2006)

the lack of interest in this album doesn't really surprise me too, much I wouldn't have put this that high on the reviews column. I hope people honestly check this out because it is one of the top 5 records of the year.

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

the melvins just did a split 7 inch with comedian patton oswalt. its pretty good.

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

cool review, i forgot these guys were still around. cudos for the nomeansno shoutout!

SlackMFr (October 31, 2006)

Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnn! It's tired in here.

strangenotes (October 31, 2006)

The lack of comments on this doesn't surprise me.

Ike_Ness (October 31, 2006)

Goddam these guys are insane. Bring back the Jelvins.

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

How the hell is Converge a shtick band? that's the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard.

Oh yeah, and the Melvins fucking rule.

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

planes album is already out and there will be no Converge album because shitty schtick bands dont get reviews

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

when does the planes mistaken for stars record come out

Anonymous (October 31, 2006)

good review, bit different

joeg (October 31, 2006)

to this day, the melvins have still done the most damage to my hearing than any other band i've seen.

fluxy44 (October 31, 2006)

Ive never really sat an listened to the Melvins, but i just downloaded this an its awesome! Gunna get me a discog

Jesse (October 31, 2006)

I was going to review this, but then, you know, I didn't. This album rips. Finally the band has a dominant low end forcing itself out over Buzzo's riffs. Reminds me a lot of their 1983 demos that surfaced last year.

BrandonSideleau (October 31, 2006)

Converge arent bad by any means but they arent fit to even wash the scrotum of the mighty Melvins.

colin (October 31, 2006)

where's the bigwig review?

SloaneDaley (October 31, 2006)

I aso spell color like this: colour.

it is what I'm paid the big bucks for.

danperrone (October 31, 2006)

a footnote!!!!

how pretentious!

DenBez (October 31, 2006)

This and Converge are tied for album of the year.

SloaneDaley (October 31, 2006)

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say

the Melvins > Converge

I haven't heard the new Converge nor do I hate them but few people touch the Melvins

mattp330 (October 31, 2006)

wait, this isn't converge

fallingupwards84 (October 31, 2006)

where the fuck are the converge and mxpx reviews?

SloaneDaley (October 31, 2006)

where is the converge review?

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