Working With God – MELVINS

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Some artists certainly made the most of the forced time available since and during the ongoing pandemic. Especially because touring was not in the cards, the legendary, long-running act known as (the) MELVINS dove into the genesis of its first ever acoustic release. True to form, the eccentric trio — comprised of core, founding members Buzz Osbourne (vocals/guitars) and Dale Crover (drums), alongside Steven McDonald (bass) — worked on a monstrous 36-song collection. Unsurprisingly “Five Legged Dog” is just as incredibly bizarre as it is enjoyable.

“Five Legged Dog” entails remarkable MELVINS songs that are reimagined with the eccentric mindset that’s simply inextricable from the group’s essence. Source tracks were culled from the collective’s classic 1987 album “Gluey Porch Treatments” all the way through 2017’s “A Walk with Love & Death” and beyond. The creepy, doom dirge of the “Gluey Porch Treatments” track “Eye Flys” is merged with the band FREE‘s seventies groove song “Woman”. The acoustic format doesn’t hinder the song’s eerie and heavy qualities, simply for the fact that the song’s negative space and bold approach are instantly captivating and inherently heavy in an emotional way.

The acoustic effort also includes previously unrecorded covers, like the ROLLING STONES‘ classic “Sway”. The finesse that (the) MELVINS have with such pop rock styled songs reminds us how the legendary underground band’s ability to seesaw between coarse and smooth helped them lay the foundation for the commercial, ubiquitous grunge movement that dominated the nineties. But, again, the trio’s penchant for intensity perpetually surfaces, as with the reimagined rendition of “Lovely Butterfly”, a song that originally appeared on “Honky”. Dale Crover‘s tribalistic percussive assault on this track and throughout this release, never mind his ample work on the ensemble’s non-acoustic albums, rivals that of NEUROSIS, even during that band’s prime. And, with little surprise, the classic, hook-laden banger “Revolve”, from “Stoner Witch”, has the power to lead listeners to manic sessions of fist pumping more than any acoustic album ever should.

In the beginning of the storied band’s career, MELVINS were responsible for some of the eighties most crushing sludge imaginable, and they did so in a manner that was parallel with the world of heavy metal but definitely on its own path, void of conventional metal trappings. While they’ve never had any element of tough guy pretense in tow, they most certainly marched forward with their burly sludge somehow fusing itself with the energy, fury and occasional pace of hardcore punk. In-studio weirdness dominated the act’s career at the midway point, prior to the band returning to a more experimental, free-form hard rock format. Since then, the unit has simply continued to release good music, and “Five Legged Dog” is seemingly anything but a cash-grab nor a lazy stroll down memory lane. Never ceasing to mesmerize, it’s an authentic reimagining of (the) MELVINS‘ classic songs within the realm of acoustic

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