October 19, 2006

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Melvins, A Senile Animal
Baryon Records, 2006

Near the top of the list of great things that can happen to a band is the deal where the band’s name becomes an adjective. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on an antiestablishmentally correct music Web site knows that “it’s very Melvins” is criticspeak for “it’s muddy and low-ended, like a rhino releasing gas with a danceable beat but more mainstream.” Turnabout being fair play, Senile Animal is very Filth Pig-era Ministry (even down to the song-list font gimmick) and would be more so if the drums were less Keith Moon, but it’s all family here, both bands having frightened off their major labels and scored Jello Biafra cameos to bolster their respective reps, not that Jello wouldn’t show up in his Sunday best to the remotest opportunity to get just one Republican scumbag looking over his shoulder. Don’t, though, misconstrue that and avoid this for fear of excruciatingly long “Hot Lava” dirges with choked vocals; overall ASA is a tick more well-behaved than Filth Pig, but don’t misconstrue that either — this is a lethal dose of mid-tempo doom rock that’s as much a deconstructive gear in the public works as anything else you could think of. A

— Eric W. Saeger