Melvins - _The Bulls and the Bees_
(Scion A/V, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (7 out of 10)
My friends give me a lot of shit for not enjoying the Melvins more. Whenever visiting, they shoot me a disapproving looks from across the room while cradling a copy of _Houdini_ on vinyl. I am often inundated with information regarding the budding grunge scene, Kurt Cobain and records which lie on the border of accessibility. To many, the Melvins represent a milestone in the development of sludge rock which still holds a bright torch today. To me, they are a mildly important sludge band. To my acquaintances, they are reason to end a friendship.

The band prepares for their 18th album to be released this summer. _Freak Puke_ will see a reduction in band members, leaving King Buzzo and Dave Crover to be supported by Mr. Bungle bassit Trevor Dunn. Before a new era in the Melvins history, we are given a chance to say goodbye to the current with _The Bulls and the Bees_.

_The Bulls and the Bees_ is the last release from the current Melvins / Big Business superteam. Since the mid '00s, the Melvins have been aided by Jared Warren and Cody Willis. The "Big Melvins" line-up has been the solid entity which has carried the band through the better part of the decade. Because of my intense interest in Big Business, these three albums (_A Senile Animal_, _Nude With Boots_, _The Bride Screamed Murder_) have been of above average enjoyment. The band's sound is cavernous and intendeds to petrify with imposing height. The Melvins' work, these past years, have again shown that rock and roll still exists and invalidates anyone's claim that the style is feeble and dying. This is where _The Bulls and the Bees_ succeeds, by detonating a pile of rock and roll which is ceremoniously ignited by dynamite.

The first two tracks are quite possibly the most enjoyable on the record, if not in recent years. "The War on Wisdom" and "We Are Doomed" swagger with confidence and send drunken haymakers which connect every time. But again, this shouldn't be surprising, as the band members have had near seven years to hone their craft. The band properly says goodbye to their current sound with a four minute instrumental outro, which is succeeded by a four minute track of noise. "A Really Long Wait" used to infuriate me, but my friends have explained that sometimes the Melvins enjoy fucking with people. I guess they could be right. I am in no position to argue.

_The Bulls and the Bees_ is a five song EP released for free in partnership with Scion A/V. While the corporate presence may lead some to dismiss the record, the truth is sometimes more confusing. Scion's Audio Visual department has, surprisingly, made its way into the sub-mainstream with some -- again, surprisingly -- decent releases. In addition to some well crafted zine on dance, metal, and garage, the marketing team puts together low brow art shows as well as a consistent rotation of relevant releases. I am baffled as much as you are. While the idea of a large company trying to be hip with the underground is funnier if thought of as ineffective, the reality is sometimes more confusing.


(article published 2/4/2012)

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