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We Are Doomed - 90%

Twisted_Psychology, April 25th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2012, Digital, Scion Audio Visual

Originally published at http://suite101.com

Just when you thought the Melvins’ discography couldn’t get any more confusing, guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover announced their intentions to put out some new releases with two different lineups in 2012. While the full-length Freak Puke will feature Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle fame on bass duties, this five song EP upholds the dual drummer quartet that has been operating since 2006’s (A) Senile Animal. This EP is also noteworthy for having been released as a free download by Scion A/V, leading one to wonder about the quality of the material that the band is content with just giving away for free.

In an odd sort of way, this EP is more melodic than the group’s last few releases. That doesn’t mean the material is disposable or commercial (When have the Melvins ever been commercial?) but rather that the instruments just aren’t as heavy as usual. This can be seen as the guitars show off a lighter tone and the vocals are as sing-along as King Buzzo can get. But with that said, the band members still have great chemistry. Like the other albums featuring the Big Business rhythm section, the two drummers and the guitars frequently battle for supremacy with the former having a consistently pounding performance and the latter putting out some solid riffs. It would’ve been great to hear a heavier guitar crunch but it certainly gets the job done.

And even though there are only five songs on here, the writing is full of variety and goes through a good series of moods. “The War On Wisdom” starts things off on a percussive note, “We Are Doomed” predictably slows things down, “Friends Before Larry” and “A Really Long Wait” blend together and take things in a more ambient direction, and “National Hamster” comes full circle with an upbeat touch. While “The War On Wisdom” and “National Hamster” bookend the EP nicely, the more experimental songs are probably the more memorable moments on here. “We Are Doomed” is my favorite track and lives up to its awesome title though it is the best example of a song that could’ve benefitted from a heavier guitar tone. The same could probably be said for “Friends Before Larry,” but the creepy guitar drones do make it a solid instrumental and “A Really Long Wait” adds to the atmosphere quite nicely with its trance-like vocal lines.

This may not be an essential Melvins release and would’ve been stronger with some more aggression thrown in, but it does manage to be a solid release that is definitely worth looking into. One may wonder how Freak Puke will compare to this particular EP but it does suggest that this lineup probably won’t be dying out anytime soon. And seriously, this album is for free. Can you really say no to free stuff?

Current Highlights:
“We Are Doomed”
“Friends Before Larry”
“A Really Long Wait”