"Pigs of the Roman Empire" is (rather unpredictably for a Melvins album) predictable. After the manic collaboration album "Crybaby" which was so brilliantly off the scale, the next collaborative effort - this time with Brian "Lustmord" Williams - is the exact opposite. It is simply Lustmord tracks followed by Melvins tracks, only really mixing together properly in the COLOSSAL title track, making fans of the Melvins do a double-take (never thought it possible!)
The dark (lengthy) Lustmord intro sets us up pretty nicely for a good old traditional Melvins track full of Buzz's awesome jagged riffing, and (as always) amazing vocals. Yes, "Bloated Pope" is the first highlight of the album, complete with weird "Stag"-reminiscent interlude and wailing solos. Dale Crover has to be one of my favourite drummers, and here is no exception of his skill.
The production is up to the usual standard, extremely listenable. After this awesome track, something more experimental - if Lustmord is present on this track it is not that noticeable - similar weird tracks are scattered throughout "Stag" and there are only a few eerie effects that Melvins themselves could have come up with. However, still a good track.
Now the title track is what the album has been building up to - an epic journey through dark chasms of repetitive echoing riffs and menacing soundscapes, twisting and turning musical brilliance. Fans of this should definitely pick up Lustmord's new one, "Juggernaut" - a collaboration with Buzz.
After this, "Pink Bat" is exactly the opposite of what you need after 22 minutes of darkness - it has a minute-long intro of screeching noises. If you endure this torturous noise without turning down your speakers (which are obviously turned up to maximum for full effect of the title track) then you have my respect. Following the intro is some aggressive punky music. The next two tracks again are Melvins-only, the first serving as an excellent build-up. By the way, a riff from "Safety Third" is used on the aforementioned "Juggernaut" - a point of trivia for you.
(Presumably Buzz's) down tuned voice rings through the ambience of the next track, presenting a head-scratching effect that only the Melvins can provide. The same goes for the Lustmord track that follows that has about 2 minutes of silence in the middle, (ambient even for Lustmord) which is followed by some very odd almost lullaby music.
When talking to people about the Melvins, "Pigs" is always mentioned amongst my favourites, to which the response is usually "Oh yeah, Pigs is awesome!" Therefore it is thoroughly recommended to all Melvins fans, who should already have it. Lustmord fans will probably prefer the "Juggernaut" CD. A great effort from my favourite band.