The Melvins

Hostile Ambient Takeover

BY Chris GramlichPublished Jun 1, 2002

Returning with their first proper album since their twisted trilogy for Ipecac, the Melvins are again offering salvation for anyone brave enough to reach out embrace King Buzzo's afro. Hostile Ambient Takeover is more akin to the Melvins major label releases in the breadth of its sonic expanse than any of the Ipecac trilogy, where they were concentrating on a particular musical theme with each album, and is a glorious return to single album form. Hostile Ambient Takeover features the Melvins once again at their most prolific, with their sonic fuckery tackling disjointed rock, cow punk, metal, ambient experimentation, twisted pop, their trademarked metallic dirge, noisy psychedelic jams and unrestrained avant soundscapes all filtered through the Melvins' criminally insane musical mindset. It's bizarre, experimental and yet also strangely comforting, in that as adventurous, weird and out there as it becomes, it is always unquestionably the Melvins, and although they will occasionally steer you wrong just to be jerks, it's always worth the ride. New Year's Eve 2000 was a glorious night. the world didn't end but it probably should have, as two of music's most maligned saviours teamed up on one stage to form a Robeast-destroying super-group of mythical proportions. Millennium Monsterwork, while not the most sonically pure or performance perfect live album, is an exceptional document of a rare musical convergence. Heavily skewed towards older Fantômas material, with only a few selections from the then unreleased The Director's Cut, and a handful of Melvins' tracks, Millennium Monsterwork is at its best when the collaborations are at their most insistent, such as Patton taking over Buzz's vocals on "Hooch" or the all-out musical trade-off's of "Terpulative Guns & Drugs." Despite its sonic shortcomings, the talent and vision of all involved to pull off such a pairing and do it so well makes Millennium Monsterwork an outstanding document.

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