Music

Melvins: The Bride Screamed Murder

Not only is the latest Melvins record of high quality as usual, but it's their weirdest and most fun in years.


Melvins

The Bride Screamed Murder

Label: Ipecac
US Release Date: 2010-06-01
UK Release Date: 2010-06-07
Artist Website
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

"The Water Glass", the lead-off track on the Melvins' bazillionth studio album, starts off exactly how you expect it to start. A monolithic Buzz Osbourne riff, as fuzzed-out as his 'fro, as heavy as Black Sabbath's Born Again or Eyehategod's Dopesick, but also possessing that unmistakable sense of groove that sets the Melvins apart from any other band in rock and metal. This riff not only crushes, but it swings, punctuated perfectly by the massive, tribal beats by drummers Dale Crover and Coady Willis, which exude a Steve Albini-recorded vibe. It's a wicked little jam that leads us to believe that this band is ready to equal the primal energy of such seminal albums as 1991's Bullhead or 1993's Houdini, or at the very least rank as the heaviest release by the current lineup of this band, which is entering its fifth year.

84 seconds in, however, the guitars fade out and Crover and Willis suddenly and inexplicably launch into a drum solo, erm, duo, that, for some strange reason, starts to resemble a march. When we do finally hear Osbourne's distinct voice, he's not so much the cult figure "King Buzzo" as he is a drill sergeant, as he and his bandmates engage in a demented a cappella call-and-response that simultaneously evokes the Marines and the insipidly fun rave-ups of the '80s ("Rock me rock me rock / Rock steady / Roll me roll me / Roll me ready"). Needless to say, that we didn't expect.

One thing that's never been in doubt is the fact that the Melvins have been enjoying a creative renaissance ever since Osbourne and Crover welcomed young pups Willis and bassist Jared Warren, also known as the two-piece band Big Business, into the fold. For a band that has gone through bassists like Kleenex, not only is there stability in the band's lineup for the first time in a while, but it's also resulted in surprising musical chemistry between the four musicians. Sure, having two drummers was a masterstroke of an idea, but the songs themselves have been above average, whether on 2006's brilliant (A) Senile Animal or 2008's less consistent yet enjoyable Nude With Boots. With The Bride Screamed Murder, though, the quartet has decided to truly flex its creative muscle, an in so doing have put together an album that's one of their weirdest efforts in a long while, and also one of their most genuinely fun.

This album is rife with oddities, yet it always feels like a Melvins record. The stuttering cadences of "Pig House" are juxtaposed with melodic riffs that are anything but sludgy, the catchy hard rock gradually giving way to a silly, chanted outro. The melodic "Hospital Up" goes for a similar languid feel as Torche, as if interpreted by Dada-era Alice Cooper, eventually collapsing into a coda of free jazz piano and squeaking balloons. The band puts a completely new spin on the Who's "My Generation", but like Nevermore's take on Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence", it's more of a re-interpretation than a straight-up cover, slowed down to a crawl, Warren's lumbering bassline leading the way, the shouted lyrics more sarcastic than earnest, the song's latter half more mournful than celebratory. Even more unique is the album's final track "P.G. x 3", a rendition of the Nova Scotian traditional "Peggy Gordon" performed three different ways: first, a tender lone melodica, then a haunting a cappella version that inexplicably matches the dusky majesty of Fleet Foxes, and finally a roaring performance by Osbourne on guitar.

This being a Melvins album, there's no shortage of the kind of riff-centric beasts that we know they're capable of, and as "The Water Glass" hints at, the band sounds as massive as ever, whether on the fantastic, ferocious "Evil New War God", the menacing "Electric Flower", or the rampaging "Inhumanity and Death". As they prove constantly on The Bride Screamed Murder, though, there's so much more to this band these days than merely crushing riffs; there's more than enough room to go nuts with the experimentation and still come up with a top-tier Melvins record.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Music

Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.

Music

That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.

Books

Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.

Reviews

Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.

Music

Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.

Film

'Thor: Ragnorak' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Music

Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Music

Kathleen Grace and Larry Goldings Team for Wonderfully Sparse "Where Or When" (premiere)

Kathleen Grace and Larry Goldings' "Where Or When" is a wonderfully understated performance that walks the line between pop and jazz.

Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.