Harvey Milk The Kelly Sessions

Though never coming close to the number of Melvins’ releases, Athens, Georgia-based Harvey Milk’s brief output during the late ’90s continues to rival Buzz Osbourne and company with its staggering gravity. The Kelly Sessions consists of alternate recordings around the time of assembling 1997’s magnum opus Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men on Reproductive (four of those cuts are featured here, along with five other previously unreleased songs). The ten-minute doom-monger "My Broken Heart Will Never Mend” (cleverly placed before track one, so you have to rewind at the start of the disc to get there) and the melodically numbing "Brown Water” are enough to demolish entire civilizations in slow-motion, but the Jesus Lizard-ish "Dick Slater” and the Helmet-like metallic "Dating Pressures” recall the relative breakneck-ness of Stoner Witch-era Melvins. "Blackbeard” and "Plastic Eggs” sling the syrup anew, and it’s bassist Creston Spiers’ creeping, raspy vocals that distinguish "Come And Spit” from old Electric Wizard. The introductory drumbeats of the punk-like "Anthem” (not a Rush cover, unfortunately) recall old Pat Benatar before forewarning the hard rocking of their 2000 swan song, The Pleaser. The closer, a lonely acoustic cover of Leonard Cohen’s "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong,” is cut short abruptly, much like the band’s career. Undoubtedly a superlative complement to 2003’s The Singles collection on Relapse, The Kelly Sessions shows Harvey Milk to be eternal influences on Isis, Melvins, and all fans of the heavy. Sadly though, Spiers’ legendary sledgehammer solos are not included. (Escape Artist)