Melvins – Basses Loaded album review

Chaos reigns as Buzz Osborne’s mischief-makers return

Melvins, album cover

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

With a vast catalogue that veers wildly between substance and nonsense, often within single songs, Melvins are anything but predictable.

As has been the case in more recent times, Basses Loaded was performed by a retooled lineup, with the efforts of several different bass players and drummers conspiring to confuse and confound in true Melvins tradition. Where 2014’s Hold It In was comparatively coherent, this album is a blur of inexplicable detours.

The sonic gulf between the murderous sludge of Beer Hippie and a jaunty but mean cover of The Beatles’ I Want To Tell You is huge, but somehow it all hangs together, just as the band’s deranged covers album Everybody Loves Sausages did, against similar odds, in 2013. Of course, Melvins have lost none of their ability to be really fucking annoying; Shaving Cream is the kind of leering, scatological nonsense that pals the Butthole Surfers could never resist, but the queasy jazz of Planet Distructo, War Pussy’s doomy hardcore and the endearingly daft Maybe I Am Amused, featuring Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, more than make up for one brief lapse.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.