Review Summary: The Melvins join forces with Big Business and make a straight-forward metal album with no crazy experimentation.
In the 80s, a band like no other came along and showed the world how to play with an aggressive tone and keep the tempo extremely low. While other bands have tried to do this (off the top of my head, Flipper and Black Flag), it’s safe to say that those bands never properly developed this way of thinking. The Melvins perfected what these bands didn’t finalize and brings the phrase ‘when the student overcomes the teacher’ to truth. The band went on to release a vast array of albums, extended plays, splits, solo projects and so on. A Senile Animal is the latest from the band and brings in Big Business (a stoner rock/sludge metal duo originally from Seattle) to help them.
The most fascinating entity about the LP is the use of two drummers. Coady (Big Business) and Dale battle each other throughout the album with rapid crazy drumming skills. The two skin-beaters (innuendo intended) bring a fresh outlook to the Melvins sound and definitely sounds stronger because of it. There is no denying that parts in Houdini could sound a lot heavier if the drums were brought out a tiny bit more and this improves on everything that Houdini lacked. Buzzo’s guitar is still sludgy sounding and the bass stands out more than usual. The most improved part of the Melvins attire are definitely the vocals. This is due to Jared shouting out intense backing vocals and the songs sound more tight and less sloppy. An overall improvement from the usual Melvins line-up.
This is a straight-forward metal album. There is no song that goes out of 4/4 apart from the superb “Blood Witch”, there is no crazy experimentation, everything is just basic. The album will satisfy metal fans of course but fans of the weird Melvins albums will surely be disappointed. This is where the album lacks a lot but this is a great metal album even if it avoids all forms of experimentation. Being one of the only songs that break out of 4/4, “Blood Witch” is one of the album’s most solid, interesting tracks. The track has a heavy atmosphere around it while never really being extremely heavy. This is because of the sudden jolts the guitar shoots out and the haunting vocals King Buzzo and Jared sing. The track that comes before that however is an instrumental that sets up the album. “The Talking Horse” has the similar atmosphere and sound to every song on the album and gives the listener a taste of what the person is in for.
Metal fans and casual listeners will enjoy this the most out of the Melvins back catalogue as believe or not, it’s the most accessible along with Houdini. Sadly, the album is littered with a few bland tracks and I’m all for experimentation in their music so I’m not a massive fan of this but it’s enjoyable in small doses. The addition of Big Business gives a more improved sound but the song writing quality decreases as a result. Next time around, as well as keeping the better sound, maybe they can try write better quality songs eh?