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5.0 out of 5 stars
A Refined Melvins, 31 Dec 2006
Almost every review concerning the bands recent releases talks of `expecting the unexpected'. Well, I'm not too sure if this is the case with this year's release, "A Senile Animal".
When you consider the band now have two drummers, thanks to Big Business' percussion section (they have also recruited their bass section too, which means, when you consider Big Business only have these two members, this is a takeover, like big daddy Melvins has just swallowed an entire band.). So yes, when you know that the band now has two drummers you can expect a lot of drums, and a lot of crazy fills, maybe some syncopation, odd time signatures etc etc. You should also guess that the album will have a very low-end growl, full of rumbling and fuzzy bass tones, as for one thing, this is Melvins, and no Melvins album goes without rumbling bass, but also because Big Business' bass tone is gigantic. You should also assume that the almighty king of sludgy riffdom, Buzzo, will lay down some mind rumbling slabs of dirge, along with some quicker, thrashier riffs, as no Melvins release bypasses these rules. And if you assumed all of this, you will be spot on.
So perhaps it wasn't too hard to imagine the feel and general sound of this release, which may seem a shame to some fans who are all so eager to hear a new mysterious direction. But really, who cares? This album is immense.
This might just be the bands most direct and focused release. There are other Melvins albums that have cut out the filler and noodling that creates the eccentric and experimental ego, and they have gone down as their solid works, such as the masterful "Houdini" and dingy "Bullhead", and perhaps even "The Maggot" has some claim to consistency. There is no denying this albums consistency, and if you enjoy the albums I have mentioned above more than the bands experimental outings, then you will adore this release.
The format of the album is wonderfully simple. 6 songs under 3 minutes, full of up-tempo riffs, barrages of drums and fills whizzing around. Real adrenaline pumping stuff. Throw in a slightly slower and more mellow number at track 3 to split it up a little, and close the album in fine Melvins form with 2 monumental sludgy outings and a creepy, almost whispered finale, akin to the ending to "Hostile Ambient Takeover" (The Anti-Vermin Seed).
Overall this is an extremely solid release, and will certainly please long-time fans and I would guess bring in some new ones too. One of the best of 2006.