The Melvins despite existing for nearly forty years show no sign of slowing down, especially with a packed February. Not only are there two vinyl reissues imminent in the form of debut Gluey Porch Treatments and 2002s Hostile Ambient Takeover, but now this their twenty fourth album Working With God. This is their second release with original drummer Mike Dillard, following up from 2013s Tres Cabrones and once again sees Dale Crover moving over to Bass.
Working With God is titled so because the band figured it ‘was time to get right with the lord’. But despair not, Melvins haven’t gone all Pat Boone, they will have had tongues planted firmly in cheeks.
The album starts off with the expletive laden I Fuck Around, a humorous take on The Beach Boys’ I Get Around. Despite being something of a spoof, it has to be pointed out that Buzz, Dale and Mike harmonize well and it makes for an exuberant and highly effective opening track. Negative No No packs a mighty punch and features the kind of meaty riffing that Metallica attempted during the Load/Reload cycle, but ultimately fell short at achieving. There is accessibility to the track which I’ve not heard since the Houdini days, a slice of brilliant nostalgia. Bouncing Rick sees a mid-pace thrash influenced attack, circa 1990, with Buzz employing a Dave Mustaine-esque styled vocal sneer.
Caddy Daddy slows down proceedings and demonstrates why they are the true godfathers of ‘sludge metal’. The difference being of course there are no tortured vocals or The Allman Brothers intonations (ala EyeHateGod) here. It is a track packed with melody, while remaining monstrously heavy. 1 Brian, The Horse Faced Goon sees the band’s weirder eccentric tendencies coming to the fore with its Zappa/Residents vibes. Brian, The Horse Faced Goon‘s main riff reminds me a little of Alice in Chains’ Man In A Box, there is certainly a grunge sound to this particular number.
Caddy Daddy slows down proceedings and demonstrates why they are the true godfathers of ‘sludge metal’…
Boy Mike borrows a little from Kyuss’ Blues From The Red Sun era with its distinctive thick fuzz laden approach, especially the track Green Machine. Ironically Melvins were an influence on that band, so this could be Melvins possibly tipping their hat to Kyuss in return. 1 Fuck You has a power-pop tinge and sees the lads cutting loose again and having fun. It has a 70s aura and if a video were to be made of this track (and it should be) then I could imagine them dressing up in 70s gear goofing around ala vintage Redd Kross.
Fuck You is a twenty five second intermission featuring the band screaming into the mic leading onto The Great Good Place, a chunky and relatively straightforward number, by Melvins standards. Hot Fish harks back to Gluey Porch Treatments/Ozma with the Black Flag meets Black Sabbath sludge punk hybrid they helped pioneer, making for a fond trip down memory lane. Hund is another chunky fiery number that ends before you know it, and it wouldn’t be Melvins of course if they didn’t end on a bizarre note. Such is the case with Good Night Sweetheart, a cover of The Spaniels’ classic track. An appropriate closer that reminds one of Zappa’s doo-wop fashioned tunes.
This album, much like Houdini, serves as a great conduit for anyone wanting to get into Melvins. The eccentric experimentation, while present, is toned down leading to a leaner, and dare I say, direct sounding record that’s a worthy addition to an already extensive and impressive discography.
Scribed by: Reza Mills