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Originally published on http://suite101.com
The Melvins are best known for having influenced everyone from Nirvana to Boris, but they have gathered even more respect for their prolific tendencies. In addition to their own numerous albums, they have taken part in several collaborations with such artists such as Jello Biafra and ambient legend Lustmord.
While The Bride Screamed Murder generally serves as the group's twentieth studio album, it is also their third release to feature Jared Warren and Coady Willis of Big Business fame on bass and drums respectively. It is also the band's first album to ever enter the Billboard 200 at #200.
While the Melvins are known for having an incredibly unique sound, this album's style isn't too far removed from other recent releases such as (A) Senile Animal and Nude With Boots. It's pretty straightforward when compared to the band's more eccentric efforts and may be one of their more accessible releases.
But with there being two drummers on this release, it goes without saying that the percussion is what leads the music here on several occasions. Of course, the guitars are still packed with the sludge that gave such bands as High On Fire and Eyehategod their inspiration and King Buzzo's vocals seem to have a more melodic quality that was overlooked on their classic studio efforts.
Also interesting are the interludes that occur on several songs such as I'll FInish You Off, Hospital Up, and the band's adaptation of Peggy Gordon. While they are rather random and occasionally feel like last minute add-ons, they do showcase some interesting melodies and aid the album's surreal atmosphere.
As expected, the album's songs go all over the place stylistically and feature little in the ways of filler. Oddly enough, this is one of those rare albums where the second side is actually stronger than the first thanks to songs such as the bass-heavy Electric Flower, the somewhat somber Hospital Up and the particularly percussive Inhumanity And Death.
Of course, the first half is still made memorable thanks to songs such as the aggressive Evil New War God and I'll Finish You Off, the latter of which features some nifty touches of organ playing.
But the song that seems to stand out the most on this album is opener The Water Glass. Starting off as a crushing number similar to The Talking Horse with rough riffs and marching drums, it soon gives way to one of the most fun call-and-response segments ever put to tape. It predictably sounds strange at first but its catchiness is sure to leave an impression.
Another song that proves to be surprisingly satisfying is the band's take on the classic My Generation originally made famous by The Who. The Melvins are certainly no strangers to cover songs and the song itself has seen countless renditions over the years, but it still made some listeners nervous to see how they would handle a song that has quite frankly been overplayed...
The resulting version is one that bares almost no resemblance to The Who's original song. While the original was made memorable by its stuttering vocals, call-and-response choruses, and influential bass solo, the version on here features none of those elements and instead focuses on some other ideas.
Instead the version that appears on this album is much more minimalistic than the classic tune and about four minutes longer, getting by on a now-hypnotic main riff and more drawn out vocals such to a much slower pace. It's sure to annoy those who were expecting something more along the lines of the confrontational original, but doom metal fans should enjoy this unique take.
All in all, this is a very strong release that should go well with the band's die-hard fans and those already acquainted with the sounds of sludge. While it would be a good purchase for would-be listeners, it may be best to look into Houdini or Stoner Witch before you make your way to this point of the band's career.
The Water Glass, I'll Finish You Off, Electric Flower, Hospital Up, and My Generation