As a standalone project, ‘A Walk With Love And Death’ won’t be remembered as a Melvins classic, but more so as a poke in the back to anyone who thought there might be one foot entering the coffin.
Since their major label days hanging out with Nirvana, Melvins have been considered an affirming cornerstone in grunge’s short but defining lifespan. Boasting a twenty-five album back catalogue spanning four decades, their sound’s consistently interchangeable sludge metal has been moulded into numerous formidable forms.
Their recent record, A Walk With Love And Death arrives as the Washington trio’s first double album attempt weighing in at one hour, eleven minutes. Referring to disc one as ‘Death’ and disc two as ‘Love’, Melvins delve into the gaping chasm between each component. Each side is totally standalone from the other. Beginning in Death, its mercilessly thick riffs are almost impossible to make sense of; dissonant yet melodic, abrasive yet psychedelic, the opening section to A Walk With Love And Death is pretty much archetypal Melvins with a few added horns where necessary.
There’s almost no flow in direction which strangely seems to sit right at home between Buzz Osborne’s gritty vocal. Whether or not fans are growing tiresome of textbook Melvins is one thing but ending all doubt surrounding stagnation, disc two’s Love places all misconceptions of decay far out the window.
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Composed to accompany a short film produced by Jesse Nieminen, the entirety of Love is an avant-garde soundscape of guitar twitches, eerie atmospherics and audio footage. To be honest, it’s difficult to ever place a coherent opinion on such outlandish material but that doesn’t mean to say it’s all just overstated gobbledegook. Moments come and go, some arousing a sense of haunting alienation, some making so sense at all. But maybe that’s the point; make of it what you will.
All in all, Melvins certainly haven’t past it. The fact that nearly forty years down the line and they can still push the boundaries of their music to the limits of where often isn’t comfortable is impressive to say the least. As a standalone project, A Walk With Love And Death won’t be remembered as a Melvins classic, but more so as a poke in the back to anyone who thought there might be one foot entering the coffin. (6/10) (Ollie Rankine)
But what did you think at home? Listen below and let us know! Happy listening!
Tags: A Walk With Love And Death, album, Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, Ipecac, Melvins, Ollie Rankine, review, Steven Shane McDonald
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