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Melvins - A Walk With Love & Death album review

Seattle’s prolific grunge pioneers unleash double trouble

Cover art fro Melvins - A Walk With Love & Death album

Melvins’ first double album is a stylistically fractured affair that showcases two of their enduring vibes: sludgy hard rock and freaky experimentalism. Again indulging their heroic appetite for line-up changes, guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover enlisted Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald for the latest campaign, as he anchors first side Death with thick, bubbling rhythms that pour seamlessly into Dale’s punchy cadences and King Buzzo’s weirdly seditious melodies. The band’s signature amalgam of sticky, bludgeoning riffage underpins spacey forays into prog, classic rock and ball-tripping psychedelia, as on the concussive squall of Euthanasia. More interesting are tracks like Christ Hammer, with its spidery fretwork and spooky harmonies, and What’s Wrong With You, a jaggedly catchy garage rocker that could pass for late-90s Stone Temple Pilots. Side two, Love – the soundtrack to a short film – delivers a disorienting clutch of trippy atmospherics stitched into ambient swathes of muffled conversations. Love may be an acquired taste, but Death offers a sumptuous feast of pure, uncut head candy.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.