The Melvins (A) Senile Animal

The Melvins (A) Senile Animal
Fans can eternally expect the unexpected with the Melvins, as (A) Senile Animal — just as they did during the post-grunge explosion of the mid-’90s — caters to a more mainstream crowd with shorter tunes and less of the noise and experimentation that’s made them infamous. Instead of hiring a new bassist to fill their traditional turnstile spot, they’ve assimilated Hydra Head power duo Big Business into the fold, thus creating a monstrous group of much focused Neanderthals. Though some of their Ipecac catalogue is admittedly hit-or-miss, this material is guaranteed to evacuate bowels at ten paces. The most immediate change is the staggering power of drummer Coady Willis matching legend Dale Crover beat for beat, allowing the music to enter a completely different dimension of might. "The Talking Horse” is cut from the same burlap as Stoner Witch, and "Blood Witch” is one of the more rock-accessible tunes of their career. Having three vocalists in addition to Buzz Osbourne’s throaty caterwaul also leads to some very interesting harmonies, as evidenced in the Scissorfight-ish "Civilized Worm.” "A History of Drunks” sports extremely brawny riffs, laid atop a Ginger Baker-esque snare’n’tom shuffle, with the end result sounding like a very heavy Masters of Reality. The blatant metal of "Rat Faced Granny” and "The Hawk” is dense like High On Fire, and the album gets progressively weightier with each track, as if the band distilled all the heaviest moments from their major label Atlantic years. The pacing of "A History of Bad Men” is in the style of "Night Goat,” bleeding into the even doomier "The Mechanical Bride.” Without a doubt, the gravity of (A) Senile Animal begs the question: what in the world will they think of next? (Ipecac)