Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder

'The Bride Screamed Murder' is the latest release from Melvins, whose prolific work rate shows no sign of letting up on this, their 18th album. The assortment of good tunes mixed in with the band's sludge-rock makes it one of their better efforts, and fans will find plenty of Melvins idiosyncrasies, to delight and frustrate in equal measures.

Album opener 'The Water Glass' erupts mightily with a memorable guitar riff by singer guitarist King Buzzo and generous helpings of drum reverb. The first half of the track has the typical 'heavy' Melvins sound, whereas the second half consists of an incongruous a cappella vocal passage. 'Evil New Water God' explodes off the blocks faster than Usain Bolt, with its fierce guitar, snarling vocals, and a fury that subsides to reveal a funky beat (evoking Lalo Schifrin's Dirty Harry score).

'Pig House' scores highly for its melodic, inventive guitar hook, over syncopated kick drum, then 'I'll Finish You Off', with its snail-like pace, comes closest to what cynics might describe as 'typical Melvins sludge rock', as wailing vocals struggle to remain audible above a dense cacophany of intricate guitar, backing vocals and drums.

'Electric Flower' is a showstopper, hard and heavy, with accomplished fretwork, stop start rhythms and Buzzo's karaoke Iron Maiden style vocals. The second half of the track highlights Dale Crover's funky drumming. The slow melancholy of 'Hospital Up' provides an effective counterpoint to some of the album's noisier tracks, hanging together well until the final jazz section.

'Inhumanity and Death', possibly the fastest track on the album, delivers an all-out aural assault, with brutish power chords, undecipherable utterances, Tad-style growling bass, and fast and furious drumming.

'My Generation?', Melvins' peculiarly warped take on the classic anthem by The Who, has a half-tempo 'funeral blues' groove which bears little resemblance to the original, yet it succeeds on its own playful terms. The album's strangely anti-climactic final track is 'PG x 3', whose 'film' theme seems to mirror the album's title and the album's Hitchcockian cover, in its drawing on elements of film scores such as Italian art movies and horror movies.

This album succeeds as a showcase for the band's versatility, and it shows a maturity which is missing from some of the band's earlier albums, although the Melvins sound remains as raw and uncompromising as ever.

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