Sound — 7
American experimental rock group Melvins have been performing their own unique style of music for over three decades now. Taking inspiration from such bands as Black Flag and Alice Cooper, as well as influencing with their sludgy sound on such grunge acts as Nirvana and Soundgarden, Melvins first broke out into the doom metal music scene in 1987 with the release of their debut studio album "Gluey Porch Treatments." This album would serve as the foundation for which Melvins would slowly build upon, eventually forming their own sound which would become instantly recognizable amongst fans of the genre. On their later albums, Melvins would give their own take on original songs by KISS and The Cars. The KISS catalog would go on to influence Melvins even more heavily as the band's career progressed; in 1992, each of the members of Melvins released their own solo album, copying the Melvins logo to heavily resemble that of KISS and even parodying the original album artwork for the Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons and Peter Criss covers. Throughout the group's thirty year career, Melvins have released a now grand total of nineteen studio albums, somehow always managing to keep the listening experience interesting for their fan base. And when it comes down to what one can expect from the band's new effort, "Tres Cabrones," it is no different. "Tres Cabrones" includes twelve new compositions, all of which feature bold elements from throughout Melvins' spanning career which established fans should easily pick up on. First, it's important to note the special lineup change which Melvins' took for "Tres Cabrones." This is the first album to include drummer Mike Dillard, who originally solely appeared on the group's "Mangled Demos from 1983", spare for a handful of bootleg recordings. Current Melvins' drummer Dale Crover still has plenty to do on this new album, this time manning the bass guitar. In honor of the return of Mike Dillard, the Melvins reach back into their catalog and do a strong re-record of the song "Walter" from their Mangled Demos from 1983, this time giving it the title "Walter's Lips." "Dr. Mule" is the song which kicks off the album, and immediately emits prime experimental rock with bold guitar licks and synthesizer playing. "99 Bottles of Beer" is exactly what the title sounds like; the members of the Melvins take a stab at the classic road trip anthem, but only make it to the second line before giving up and just repeating the word "beer" over and over. This album shows that not only is the comical side of this band is alive and well, but the group's passion for strong instrumentals and classic sludge overtones as well.
Lyrics — 7
Lead vocalist King Buzzo (aka Roger Osbourne) is traditionally a little all over the place on "Tres Cabrones." On such songs as the previously mentioned "Dr. Mule" Osbourne lowers and raises his pitch dramatically, and when set to theme of rocketing instrumental work and carnival-esque synthesizer playing it does make for a different listening experience. At the same time, this is the performance which longtime fans have come to expect from a new Melvins record, and so in that aspect is something which said fans should appreciate.
Overall Impression — 7
The Melvins execute a strong performance filled with familiar elements and enjoyable moments on their nineteenth studio album, "Tres Cabrones." All of the features which longtime fans have come to anticipate from this band are all widely apparent. Although the singing style of Roger Osbourne does at times get in the way of the album's wild instrumental work, "Tres Cabrones" is still a solid effort which established fans should be able to appreciate.