Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"The title’s a misnomer, because there’s absolutely nothing sweet about this whirlwind tear through current era Melvins ragers. From the opening bloated fuzz vomits that give way to “Nude With Boots” into the freaky bloodletting anthem “Die...s Irae” this is a band that hasn’t forgotten how to punish in the live arena. Lumbering behemoth “Eye Flies” leads the charge to a thrashtastic metallized latter half of the set, culminating in a ferocious shitstorm of songs that would make Slayer slit their wrists out of dizzied jealousy. Fast, tight, and still sounding chaotic as fuck, “Sugar Daddy” is a rock maelstrom."
This was my entry for a contest the Melvins are having to win an autographed t-shirt. While the review is brief, i think it's a pretty good summation of the new record. I've been pretty harsh on the four-piece Melvins in the past; the last time i saw them live they were as spot on and tight as a band could be but there was something missing. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the weather (they played pretty much in the middle of a blizzard in Roseville, MN), but it just felt like i was watching a unit go through the motions without injecting any real passion into it. Even Dale's drumming seemed oddly clinical (didn't make it any less amazing to watch, though.) So what a pleasant fucking surprise to hear so much ferocity screaming through on this disc.
This is as visceral as the Melvins have been on a live record since the genre-defining megalith "Colussus of Destiny." All the rage on that album was channeled into an audience-punishing swarm of sonic vomit; here it's channeled directly into a lean, throatcutting performance that flays the flesh and hollows out the brain cavity, leaving the listener in a state of lobotomized violation. All four members go for broke, playing hard and pushing everything to its limit. Buzz's guitar is a huge cloud of thick viscous sludge, the twin drum kits break the earth into tiny pieces with every matched snare crack and the bass looms large behind, coating everything in a molasses like drape of warm audial tar. While the set list is composed of mostly material performed by this lineup on record (something i saw as a major shortcoming the last time i saw them) this time the songs seriously destroy. Listening to it i couldn't help but think of Slayer, such is the level of breakneck chaos that the Melvins inject into these performances. The back end of the set features a massive four song medley of "Rat Granny," "The Hawk," "You Know You're Right," and "A History of Bad Men" that absolutely fucking shreds and reminds me just how mean and hungry the Melvins can be when they're frothing at the mouth and thirsting for live violence. If this is where this line-up has gotten to since i last witnessed them i'd be eager to see them again and give things a total reappraisal; such is the strength of this performance.
You could be forgiven for wondering if the world needs another Melvins live album. As best i figure, they've already put out about eight (!) across their lengthy discography. But this one is really fucking good. I'd put this right beside "Colussus of Destiny" and the "Live at Slim's" eight-track as a nice demonstration of the sonic extremes the Melvins are capable of getting at. "Sugar Daddy-Live" is easily the best thing they've put out as the four piece line-up as well as a major triumph in terms of essentializing the live album. Recommended.

1 comment:

Mr. Bojanglesbitch said...

*yawn* I can't believe you didn't win. Perhaps you should be moar butthurt about it.