Monday 10 January 2022

Melvins - Lord of the Flies (2022)

Country: USA
Style: Sludge Metal
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 10 Jan 2022
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As I explore the end of year lists from 2021 to see what I've missed, I noticed Working with God by the Melvins, an insanely influential American rock band who hardly fit into any single bucket but pioneered both grunge and sludge, among many other genres. They're also notably prolific, with an acoustic double album issued last year too. I haven't listened to the Melvins a lot and not for a while, but they have a new EP out today, so let's catch up here, especially as my first reaction was to wonder how long it's actually been.

Never Say You're Sorry is heavy but slow, almost industrial tones generating the sludge, feedback just another tool in the band's sonic arsenal. It's almost like a Danzig song at half speed, but with clean vocals overlaid by founder member Buzz Osborne. The other original on offer, because this is not a long EP, clocking in at only a breath over thirteen minutes, is The Receiver and the Empire State. It's a little less patient and a little more chaotic, but it finds a consistent vibe. I believe the two bookends are going to end up on the next album, whatever and whenever that will be.

What surprised me was how old school Never Say You're Sorry felt, something even more obvious with Spoon Man, which feels like it's a sixties psychedelic song being covered by an underground band a couple of decades later. It also features Matt Cameron of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam on drums, the song really being a cover of a Soundgarden number from Superunknown, so written in or around 1994 and usually credited without the space in the title. I like it. It's both perky and dark and it shifts a little better than the original for me.

The next song is a cover too, but intriguingly not of one original. It's called Misty Mountain Urge, because it's primarily Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin, a band who always sound fascinating when covered by heavy alternative rock bands, but it morphs into Uncontrollable Urge by Devo. I hadn't heard this one but checking it out on YouTube highlights just how much it sounds like Misty Mountain Hop already, so it's the most natural mash up in the world. The riff is almost identical. How did Devo not get into trouble for this back in the day?

And that's it, because thirteen minutes is over pretty quickly when three of the songs don't reach the three minute mark. Misty Mountain Urge feels oddly substantial, given that it's done in only two. So, while this sounds good and I'm thankful for the introduction to Uncontrollable Urge and the reminder about Spoonman, it's really just a blip in the discography of a band as prolific as this. At least it's priced well, at only five bucks.

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