A Walk With Love and Death by Melvins

Release date: July 7, 2017
Label: Ipecac Recordings

The Melvins return once again with more riffs and more japes. Though, as always the question of whether or not the band are producing stuff of the quality they used to is circling overhead, not to mention the validity of the double album format. Yes, there have been great double (The Fragile, Electric Ladyland) and even triple albums, The Wall, Infinity Machines. Fuck, how many albums is Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds? The point is it’s hard to pull off but, when done right it’s fucking great. No, that is not a euphemism.

‘Aim High’ stands out as an interesting ambient piece from the frequent purveyors of sludge. Similarly, ‘Park Head’ has an almost Kid A vibe. The small, experimental tracks are probably the best on the album, they’re all just fucking weird fractals of music that standout like a shit on a snowman. ‘Chicken Butt’, ’Pacoima Normal’ and ‘Street Level St Paul’ are further examples of satisfying instrumental lunacy on the album, be sure to listen to these if nothing else. There are some smaller or sample based tracks that I didn’t enjoy, whether they where intended to be funny or I just found them superfluous but, there usually is some stuff on a double album the probably shouldn’t be there.

‘Black Heath’ seems like it was hydroponically engineered to be the perfect stoner track. There’s a nice, chilled-out instrumental track juxtaposed with whacked-out vocals crooned overhead. Although, at the same time, you’d have to be the right level of high to actually make it to the end of the almost seven minute rip. When the track does kick in again, it rewards the listener’s patience but, it does feel a little like watching a three hour movie and checking how long is left around the two hour mark.

‘Cactus Party’ and ‘Flaming Creature’ are exactly the sort of thing people expect from The Melvins; bountiful riffage and weird vocals. Not their most memorable but, certainly not bad. Similarly, ‘Christ Hammer’ is exactly what you want from The Melvins but, this one is actually way more satisfying. ‘Edgar The Elephant’ is a stupendous offering from the band, it’s got that whole Pink Floyd ‘proggy-track-with-daft’ name vibe going. I like that it becomes more grungy and deserty as it goes on.‘Cardboard Nigger’ is an interesting track on the album; it’s weird, trippy atmosphere for some reason reminds me of White Hills for some reason. ‘Euthnasia’ is probably the best of the more traditionally Melvins stuff though. The guitar work is fucking stellar.

A Walk With Love and Death treads some new ground but, for the most part, it seems like some of this stuff should’ve been saved for later. The tracks that are good are “good” in terms of The Melvins so, rest-assured there’s some stuff you’ll enjoy just don’t get into this thinking it’s all badger brains and lullabies, ‘cause it’s not.

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