Genre: Sludge/ Νoise-Rock/ Grunge
Label: Ipecac Records
An album like “A Walk With Love And Death” might easily fly under your radar due to the vastness, multiplicity and diversity of the Melvins’ discography. In case you are a Melvins fanatic, then the previous statement should not, of course, be of your concern. However, it is quite a task for the casual listener to keep up with a band that deviates so much from what is considered “normal” and “standard”. The Melvins brand name is both prestigious and huge, but the Melvins’ music is not for everyone despite its simplicity.
This is their 26th studio album and their first double one. The first part of the album is dedicated to death and the second part to love. The first part is more straight forward and probably more accessible to the casual listener’s ear, while the second part can be considered as quite peculiar, since it is comprised of a short film soundtrack named Love by Jesse Nieminen. You cannot expect anything less ambitious from a band that is already on a 34-year-old intense musical journey (I don’t want to use the term career), and used six different bass players to record just one album (the “Basses Loaded” LP). Their new bass player named Steven McDonald, contributed to an even more difficult to digest result, mainly because of the two different album parts that are more conflicting than complementary to one another. The Melvins this time move into sludge and hard rock paths with many progressive elements and plenty of experimentation on the way. The speed of this journey is kinda slow and the riffs are Sabbath-like. The Osborne/Crover duet knows how to create interesting landscapes based on hard rock riffology, the weird Buzz melodies and the solidity of the rhythm section which switches between progressive and psychedelic forms. Songs that stand out are “Black Health” due to McDonalds excellent performance, “Euthanasia” which is essentially a back-to-the-grudge-era song, “What’s Wrong with You?” featuring Anna Waronker of That Dog which is another case of a paranoid punk song, and the ode to schizophrenia entitled “Christ Hammer”. The Melvins, free from any suspension of inspiration, may appeal to a specific audience rather than to the casual and usually lazy listener. However, the second part despite its trippiness sounds somehow out of context and probably diminishes the overall result.