A Senile Animal review by Melvins

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  • Released: Oct 10, 2006
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (28 votes)
Melvins: A Senile Animal

Sound — 10
This album has got to be one of the heaviest albums of the new millennium. The guitars, combining something like metal and something like grunge to create this mutant, distorted monster of an infant called (A) Senile Animal, sound like something out of the 80's or 90's, not out of 2006, with bands like the Jonas Brothers (gag! ) topping charts. The addition of the second drummer does the band extraordinary good... not that Dale Crover couldn't handle himself before. Taking after the great Butthole Surfers, the second percussionist add only creates another thick, syrupy layer of mud on the sound. But isn't that a good thing? If you want a clean sound, you need to go somewhere else. (A) Senile Animal is one of the greatest blood n' dirt albums out there, end of story... even if the album was made in the era of pop-punk emo bands. However, if you want to be picky, then you might notice that the same, grinding style of mud, mud, and more mud is used on all of the tracks, without a break in the muck. The repetitiveness may make some bored with the album, but I think repetitiveness can be a great thing if the artist repeats something they do greatly, as in the case of these guys.

Lyrics — 8
Well, let's be honest. I can't understand a damn word Buzz is saying. As far as I can tell, no one really can, unless they have a list of the lyrics next to them. I went and tried to look at the lyrics of "Civilized Worm," and, of course, the lyrics were pretty... well, murky. "We move more than I would like to gamble / I came with my poor poor eyes crawling, weakly warning / my favorite, 'Come and lie here, under my bed, or deep under my fingers.'" That sounds right for the first verse of the song, but it's a prime example of how convoluted the lyrics are for the rest of the song and for the entire album. I really couldn't make sense out of any of the lyrics on this album. But then, is that really what I didn't expect? The Melvins are pretty ope about their sound; distortion and vast amounts of sludge are what these guys are all about. So why should one really even expect much in terms of the enunciation of the lyrics? And why would one expect anything other than lyrics to be dark and murky? The guitars and drums speak for the Melvins. Buzz's lyrics don't have to. However, one cannot deny the absolute awesomeness of the vocal harmonies on almost all of the tracks of this album. Buzz's voice, multiplied by three and harmonized (making it sound like three people are screaming on the track, rather than just one) makes for a very, very eerie landscape in this album. "A Civilized Worm" is a great example of that. All of the verses sound like a chorus is singing, which is exactly what Buzz was going for. Really, if you enjoy the Melvins, or if you want to... don't try to make out the lyrics. Just listen to how they're sang. Don't try to figure out what he's saying; just soak in the eerie way he says it. The harmonies alone are the reason why I give the lyrics such a high score.

Overall Impression — 10
I think the Melvins kick some serious tail on this album, but this is most definitely not their most experimental album... one only has to look as far as "Honky" to get a real taste of the Melvins' eccentricity. But still, this is a good first album for those getting introduced to this awesome band. As far as the artists' ingenuity goes, or rather, their uniqueness of sound in comparison to other artists, the Melvins' aren't all that new. But that is perfectly fine by me. Just to name a few, the Melvins draw from, what sounds like, the Queens of the Stone Age ("Civilized Worm" has the exact same lazy, stoner guitar opener that you hear on a lot of stuff from Queens of the Stone Age), System of a Down (yeah, I know, I was shocked as well, but you cannot deny that the breakdown in "Blood Witch" has, at the 2:13 mark, the same muted guitar and drummers' click-clack as the System of a Down song, "Terracotta Pie"), and, of course, the almighty Black Sabbath and Zeppelin. Sabbath is pretty apparent on tracks like "Blood Witch" (the verses features guitar fills straight out of "Into the Void"), while Zeppelin is almost everywhere. No, I'm not referring to the Zeppelin that wrote "All of My Love"...no, this is the Zeppelin that wrote those crazed, distorted gems like "Dazed and Confused". The bass line in "Dazed and Confused," with its tortuously slow walk fits quite snugly into the slow sludge metal of the Melvins. This album is pretty much everything I love. Sludge, distortion, muck, a wall of percussion, and eerie vocals. I mean, what more could an avid fan of metal ask for? Granted, that's not the thing for anyone. Some prefer their sludge in moderate amounts. That's fine... but then, the Melvins are not for you. They pile on the sludge more than grandma piles on the gravy at Thanksgiving. But I do have somewhat of an issue with the technicality of the guitar parts; I mean, I am really looking for something to dislike here, but I guess I don't like that the guitar is only a handful of power chords and cliche metal riffs, featuring few extensive solos. But that, once again, is fine by me. This is a fantastic metal album, and a great way to kick off the new year. If this album got stolen, I would buy it again if I didn't have it on my computer for some reason (which I do). But, even though my shit got stolen, I'd be happy for that other person who thieved my album... at least he gets to listen to the Melvins, now. Hahaha

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    amazing. i must have this album. i've been following them ever since i found Gluey Porch Treatments at a disc replay.
    the melvins rock, why do people like bands like metallica, staind and papa roach, there are bands so much better out there like the melvins, isis, pelican and torche
    higherworlds wrote: the melvins rock, why do people like bands like metallica, staind and papa roach, there are bands so much better out there like the melvins, isis, pelican and torche
    :facepalm: not everybody likes to hear depressing music in minor keys. thats pretty much why and metallica wouldnt be popular like this at all if they hadnt put out the black album. i dont really no staind and papa roach, but you get the idea. just got houdini about a week ago, pretty sweet B)
    Civilized Worm has one of the greatest grooves I've heard in ages. The world needs more albums by the Melvins, they're not the end-all be-all of heavy shit but they're underrated and super influential. Without them there's no Nirvana, Tool, Queens of the Stone Age etc. I wouldn't even really consider them metal to be honest just because I think most metal bands are pretty cliche and full of gimmicks and Melvins have always been zero percent bullsh!t
    Anything, and I mean ANYTHING the Melvins put would be an instant classic. These guys kick ass no one else.
    I love the Melvins and this is my favorite album of theirs. This is the one I would tell people to buy if they were curious about them.