Review Summary: The Melvins record a cover album.Everybody Loves Sausages
is an album that, for all intents and purposes, is meant to simply be enjoyed rather than analyzed. There isn't any new material being unveiled here, nor does it contain any clues of what The Melvins are plotting for future endeavors. Instead, the Melvins have chosen to go with a more nostalgic concept to commemorate their 30 year run. Everybody Loves Sausages
is not only a celebration of the band's long-lasting career, but also a tribute to the various artists that influenced their own work. This album is a host to a collection of cover songs that originate from across the musical spectrum. From artists like Venom and Tales of Terror who reflect the Melvins' heavier roots, to some unexpected favourites such as David Bowie and Queen, Everybody Loves Sausages
transcends beyond the expectations of critics and fans alike, and focuses on delivering nothing more than a good time for those intrigued.
I'll admit that as a fan of the Melvins myself, there was a sigh of disappointment that exhaled out of me when I discovered this release wouldn't contain any original pieces. Though despite the unexpected plot in Everybody Loves Sausages
, there is no radical departure from style or quality here, and in fact, a lot of the music, though traversing through an eclectic range of genres, manages to exude an inspired sound that is surprisingly cogent. Songs like "Warhead" and "Set It On Fire" are relatively well within the Melvin's musical vicinity, and thus, assert themselves as two of the main highlights of the album. "Warhead", especially, is an assault of heavy distortion and instrumental intensity. This particular rendition of the song remains fairly true to the 1984 original and exhibits no drastic renovations in structure or sound. King Buzzo's slow tempo riffs, combined with the rugged screams of Neurosis' Scott Kelly, formulates a formidable onslaught of sound that certainly brings a heightened level of both vitality and prowess than the Venom's original. "Set It On Fire", on the other hand, has a noticeably tweaked sound. The Melvins bring a metallic feel to their version by adding a more prominent guitar presence and up-tempo vocals, as opposed to the bass-heavy and mellower concept that drives The Scientists' own. The final seconds of "Set It On Fire", which mainly consists of feedback residue, transitions into one of David Bowie's most ambitious compositions, "Station To Station". Aside from opening with a similarly droning ambience, the Melvins definitely twisted the piece into something much more monstrous, but unfortunately, it neither contains the elaborate progressions of the original, nor does it attempt to replicate Bowie's knack for enticing hooks.
Despite the diversity of artists being honored in this album, the Melvins never stray too far from their own metal roots. Instead, and as expected, the Melvins challenge their own creativity by modifying each songs to fit their style. Though, surprisingly, there are moments when the Melvins venture out of their familiar terrains, and valiantly plunge themselves down the rabbit hole. Queen's "You're My Best Friend" is one of those songs that can never be recreated (successfully) in any other form than its initial intention. This is the Melvins' first attempt at performing a pop ballad, therefore making it one of the most amusing covers in the album. It's commendable to see a metal band willingly cover a style of music that blatantly contrasts their own, though to actually see the Melvins not only attempt such an ambitious feat, but gorgeously compose a rendition of "You're My Best Friend" as well, is deserving of a standing ovation. This version is symmetrically identical to Queen's own, from the keyboard driven melody to the infectiously dulcet singing performed by Caleb Benjamin, and because of it, it gives the album a needed musical variance. Within the covers of Roxy Music's "In Every Dreamhouse A Heartache" and Throbbing Gristle's "Heathen Earth" we continue to see the Melvins explore the alternate dimensions of the musical universe, and surprisingly, finding themselves navigating comfortably rather than being hopelessly lost. "In Every Dreamhouse A Heartache" radiates a sinister aura. This is the Melvins' first step into Bryan Ferry's twisted world of 'art-glam', but they masterfully recreate For Your Pleasure
's dark and vaguely abstract epic. The inclusion of the electronic piece "Heathen Earth", on the other hand, is a rather curious one. It shares the dark atmospheres of "In Every Dreamhouse A Heartache", but is not nearly as evocative or fully realized to inspire any fascination. It offers nothing more to the listener than an avant-garde spectacle of arid beats and sequences that serve no further purpose in their 4 minute run but to take up space as the concluding track.
As I previously mentioned, the sole concept of Everybody Loves Sausages
is intended solely for the purpose of intrigue and enjoyment. Every element of this album reflects the Melvins letting loose, and exploring territories that have, for the most part, remained unfamiliar to them as musicians. In other words, this is an album composed for the mere act of having fun and saluting the music that has inspired them throughout their career. Therefore, Everybody Loves Sausages
should not be taken as anything else besides a carefree experiment on their part. It's a whimsical exercise that allows the Melvins to test their limits with an agenda that pushes them to break away from typical patterns and artifices. Yet, even as they explore what it's like to take on the personas of their influences, the Melvins still manage to sound surprisingly natural throughout.