Following the eclectic 2013 covers album, Everybody Loves Sausages, which featured everything from Queen’s “Best Friend” to Venom’s “Warhead,” Seattle’s pioneer rockers Melvins have delivered Tres Cabrones, which proves that — when they want to — they’re still fully capable of unearthing the kind of trudging, Sabbath-rooted rhythms they started dishing out 30 years ago and which served as a primary influence to the Seattle grunge scene. Maybe as a gesture to their longevity, or perhaps to reemphasize that they’ll always do whatever the fuck the want, the band has reunited with original drummer Mike Dillard, who played on just one 1983 demo before he was replaced by Dale Crover. Here, Crover moves over to bass, giving regular bassist Jarred Warren (Big Business) and second drummer Coady Willis (The Murder City Devils) brief sabbaticals.
On lumbering songs like “Dr. Mule” and “American Cow” the Melvins sound invigorated by ancient memories coupled with the knowledge that they’re still as weird and wild as when they began. As if to prove the point, they include demented versions of traditionals “Tie My Pecker to a Tree,” “You’re in the Army Now” and “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” But it’s the down-tuned crunch and clatter of “Psychodelic Haze,” the seasick, slow-mo carnival ride of “I Told You I Was Crazy,” and the Judas Priest guitar chug of “Stump Farmer” that make the album far more than a novelty. Whatever configuration Osborne chooses to take with Melvins, Tres Cabrones proves yet again that his creative vision is at least equal to the sum of the band’s parts.