Review: The Melvins – Bases Loaded

 

What is there to say about the Melvins? To say this is a talented and influential band is a gross understatement, if not relatively offensive. Buzz Osborne, AKA King Buzzo (guitar/vocals), is nothing short of a genius and the lifeblood behind The Melvins. A monstrous influence to such bands as Nirvana and Soundgarden, The Melvins had a huge hand in the 90’s sound and even influence bands today.

Forming in 1983, The Melvins is an American band that’s impossible to categorize under one genre. With Montesano, Washington, being home, The Melvins have been classified as sludge metal, stoner rock, drone metal, alternative metal, experimental rock, and various other labels. I guess the way you define The Melvins, really just depends on what album you’re listening to. One thing that holds true for every album is they all have originality. Buzzo really is rock royalty, and drummer Dale Crover has proven to be an exceptional sidekick. With Buzzo and Crover, being the only steadfast members, however, The Melvins have seen a multitude of people come and go. A common complaint for exiting members is that Buzzo writes songs that are too mathematically complex.

In 1986, The Melvins released their first studio album, ‘Gluey Porch Treatments’. Fast forward to 2016, the band released ‘Bases Loaded’, an astounding 24th album. With the majority of the releases being composed as a three piece, The Melvins did experiment with a four piece lineup, implementing dual drummers on 2006’s ‘(A) Senile Animal’. If you’ve never watched the live video for ‘A History of Bad Men’, I highly recommend it as it shows off the flawless execution of the dual drummers. Honestly, it’s musical supremacy.

When it comes to a breakthrough album, there’s a handful of worthy nominees. For me, it’s a two way tie, with 1991’s ‘Bullhead’, and 1993’s ‘Houdini’. Although The Melvins have dabbled in various styles and sounds, ‘Bullhead’, and ‘Houdini’, really encompass the sludge metal sound. Buzzo has stated that he considers Black Flag as one of his major influences and that can definitely be heard on these two albums.

‘Bases Loaded’, definitely does not rank very high on the list of heaviest Melvins albums, but sometimes trading heaviness for bizarre originality is an ok trade. The album consists of 12 tracks with track five, ‘Captain Comedown’, and track nine, ‘War Pussy’, probably being the heaviest tracks. The entire album is littered with classic Melvins humor and track seven, ‘Shaving Cream’, is absolutely hilarious.

If you’re in the market for a brutally heavy, metal album, this may not be for you. However, if you’re interested in hearing one of the most influential musicians of all time unloading his mad genius then you will not be disappointed. The Melvins are who they are with no apologies whatsoever, and that’s what I love most about them. 8/10

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