Melvins – The Bulls & the Bees (13 March 2012, Scion A/V)
I’ve just got two things to say: first, there is a new Melvins EP, and second, it’s absolutely free to download. Really, that should be all you need to hear.
The generous people who run Scion A/V have done it again, putting out a handful of songs by an incredible band for no cost or obligation at all. I still don’t know what they get out of it (I’ve grabbed a copy of each one of their free releases so far, but I’d still never be caught dead behind the wheel of one of their ugly-ass cars!), but I sure am thankful they keep on doing what they’re doing.
This time, as you can see, they are featuring a five-song collection by the Melvins, who surely need no introduction to anybody reading this. But just in case you just immigrated to this planet from Pluto, or you have been in a coma since Ronald Reagan’s first term as U.S. president, let me bring you up to speed. These guys almost single-handedly invented sludge, grunge, and stoner metal. At the very least, they were highly influential in the genesis of each of those styles, and have been consistently churning out quality tunes for almost three whole decades.
The Bulls & the Bees features all the classic Melvins hallmarks you could hope for, including thundering drums, fuzzed-out bass, and doom-metal-punk-hybrid guitar riffs. Opening track “The War on Wisdom,” and especially the seven-minute-plus second song “We are Doomed” definitely bring the doomy sludgey goodness that’ll sit well with any longtime fans of this band or the genre in general.
The next two songs, “Friends Before Larry” and “A Really Long Wait,” are more experimental, ambient, and droney in nature, another musical direction the band has often followed, and one that they also are said to have helped pioneer.
Finally, “National Hamster” is somewhat of a down-tempo, mellow rocker, which also sounds good, although considering the sequencing of the tracks, I might have preferred something a bit heavier to close on, since having this song follow the previous two seemed a bit anti-climactic to me.
However, there is plenty to get excited about here; most of the tracks effectively showcase the band’s unique twin-drummer lineup, and the vocals all sound great — which includes the gruff rasp that King Buzzo often uses, but also, throughout the tracks there are a number of spots that feature some pretty sweet multi-part harmonies.
As a whole, although I found myself enjoying some of the songs more than others, they are all good in their own way, and besides, you sure can’t beat the price!
DOWNLOAD THE EP FROM SCION A/V HERE – all it takes is an e-mail address and you’re on your way. Don’t worry about getting spammed, either, because I’ve been on the list for ages and have only ever gotten notices about upcoming new releases (also free!) from them.