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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.

Camped out in Southern California, Joe pens features, reviews albums and covers live shows for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock. When he’s not bothering his neighbours with Rammstein, Joe’s typically off playing ice hockey, fumbling around on a bass or letting his dogs guilt him into a nice long walk.