The Melvins The Bride Screamed Murder(Ipecac Recordings) Buy it from Insound
Half way into The Water Glass, and I’m in love with the tunnels of grinding guitar noise that seem to dig through The Melvins’ smart-assed interpretation of militaristic discipline. The first song from The Melvins’ latest mud bath, The Bride Screamed Murder, The Water Glass sets an expectedly goofy and playful tone while also wanting to take your fucking head off.
This duality with which The Melvins have come to be known is alive and well and still sounds wonderfully energized and alienating. Their current mutation (King Buzzo and Dale Crover having teamed up with two-thirds of the stoner metal band, Big Business, for their last couple albums), are predictably loud and obnoxious but the band’s well of wit and idiosyncrasy has yet to run dry. Evil New War God for instance doesn’t deviate from their characteristically muddy chords or one-breath-from-the-diaphragm vocal delivery, but the demented sci-fi twist and off time drum/guitar duel make the song special.
With The Bride Screamed Murder, The Melvins attempt a refined edge from a songwriting perspective, songs like Pig House boasting some mathematic constructs and the organ bending I’ll Finish You Off acting as some weird Flaming Lips take on grungy psychedelia. The band seems to do more here than simply appease what is likely a routine hunger for dirt, (“Run me, run me in the dirt!”), and though I wouldn’t accuse the band of expanding its arsenal too much, I do think there’s a subtle progression to a lot of this music. The fact that this album ends with a hymn of sorts (P.G. x 3), a child’s voice drenched in the airy reverb of a temple-sized dwelling while counting to six, is strange enough for The Melvins but quiet enough to suggest evolution.
However, with songs like Electric Flower, Hospital Up and the aggressive Inhumanity And Death, The Melvins take a more direct approach and allow the album’s more complex standouts to shine while maintaining their signature.
The Melvins pay tribute (?) to The Who with My Generation? whose obvious parody merges with what sounds like a lazy rendition of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. The vocals are sort of mumbled aloud, and as the gang slovenly state in unison, “This is MY Gener-ay-SHHHHUN,” this take on The Who’s anthemic declaration of 60s independence becomes tantamount to a complacent shrug in the now. While The Melvins end their third decade as a relatively significant presence in alternative music, this novelty “ha ha” tied to the end of an otherwise interesting and consistent album, you do almost have to wonder if this passive interpretation was inspired by humor or boredom.