REVIEW: THE MELVINS TELL US ABOUT THE BULLS AND THE BEES
‘The Bulls and the Bees’
You cannot deny the Melvins have been an institution in heavy music for nearly three decades and have been the influence behind a lot of bands that have themselves gone on to be legends in their own right. Their latest release, courtesy of Scion A/V goes a long way to cementing this claim, so settle down kiddies… Buzz and Co. are here to tell you about ‘The Bulls and the Bees’.
The first of two Melvins records being released this year, this five track EP will do more than just wet your appetite for the coming full-length ‘Freak Puke’. You are barely aware that opening track ‘The War on Wisdom’ has started, (with its rough, plodding drum intro) before you are met with the blunt lead-heavy implement that is Buzz Osborne’s guitar. That swift blow to the cranium is all it takes to make this record spring into life with the kind of groove laden filth that the Melvins peddle so well. The dual drum battery of Dale Crover and Coady Willis sounds tighter than ever and locks in perfectly with Jared Warren’s bowel rupturing low-end. This growling rhythm section is perfectly accented by the semi-operatic vocals that have become synonymous with Melvins releases, Ozborne’s unholy yelp, being in particularly fine form.
Never content with sticking to any one formula, the band have included a great deal of balance to this record, (for an extended play) in fact, it has greater fluidity than some full-lengths. Tracks like ‘We are Doomed’ with its sombre melody and vocal harmonies, showcase the Melvins crunching riffs effectively slowed down and accompanied by soaring lead sections. The sweeping majesty of ‘Friends before Larry’ melds perfectly into the melancholic, ethereal soundscape of ‘A Really Long Wait’ and establishes this release as a thing of musical beauty. Finally, the ebb and flow of the quite brilliant ‘National Hamster’ (featuring the odd fusion of guitar and pencil) finishes off what is a fully accomplished recording from a band that remain as prolific as they are inspirational.
Now, to the matter that could cause some people to have a small gripe with this release… as ultimately great as this EP is musically, there is the slight concern that the inclusion of the Scion logo on the front cover maybe a deterrent to some lifelong fans of the band. Whilst the record is available to download free of charge from the Scion A/V website (which is surely a good thing) it does raise the question, is there room for marketing of this kind outside of the musical mainstream? It wasn’t so long ago that Magrudergrind were blasted by Agoraphobic Nosebleed vocalist J. Randall for associating themselves with the company and there are those who might be inclined to agree with that viewpoint. For the record I am by no means accusing the Melvins of selling their souls here, far from it, nor am I criticising Scion for putting out what is essentially some incredible free music. I’m merely posing the question, is it right that companies outside of the musical world associate themselves with bands and releases?
Irrespective of your own point of view on the matter, what you have with this EP at the end of the day is a free slice of one of the most established and unique bands in the business. ‘The Bulls and the Bees’ is a recording that showcases the Melvins at their maniacal and creative best. A miniature masterpiece!
Additional: – If this has sparked an interest in the debate about corporate entities teaming up with bands, you can read about both sides of the argument, starting with J. Randall’s beef with Scion and Magrudergrind here, along with a good argument ‘for’ and ‘against’ bands forming alliances with companies to release free material. Another interesting piece that seems very much for Scion sponsored free releases can be read here.
Feel free to come to your own conclusions on this matter.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily representative of those of Zero Tolerance Magazine or its parent or affiliated companies.
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