The Melvins, A Senile Animal

J. Bennett

By J. Bennett

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

A Senile Animal

The Melvins

Twenty-some albums in nearly as many years is a lot for anyone. But it's especially impressive for guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover, if only because every few years they have to teach yet another new bass player about 40 Melvins songs. On (A) Senile Animal, the Melvins not only have a new bassist (their sixth) in Big Business 'Jared Warren, but a second drummer in Big Business 'Coady Willis — which means that all of Big Business is officially in the Melvins now. And really, it's about time: Crover and Willis induce many a tom-tom avalanche (check out the dizzying break on opener "The Talking Horse" and at the end of the infectious "Civilized Worm"), while Osborne and Warren trade bellows like giants threatening to grind the bones of Englishmen (especially on "The Hawk").

A blaring testament to all that is thick, hairy and weird.

On "A History of Bad Men" (not to be confused with the album's fourth track, "A History of Drunks"), the new and improved Melvins break off some woozy slow-mo riffs and a brilliantly distended bass line. Both of these sound suspiciously similar to some of the band's older material, but that's probably because these dudes know that if you're gonna steal, steal from the best, i.e., the Melvins 'own back catalogue: For fans of thundering doom-pop (like 1993's Houdini) and creepy rubberized rock (like 2000's The Bootlicker), the Melvins are the undisputed champs. (A) Senile Animal's towering staccato grooves ("Blood Witch"), beefy power dirges ("The Mechanical Bride") and bizarro three-part harmonies (everywhere) add another stupefying notch in their big gold belts, a blaring testament to all that is thick, hairy and weird.