The Mighty Melvins and "Basses Loaded" – Written by Paul Lee
For over 33 years, the Melvins have covered a wide range of musical territory since their inception in 1983. They’ve never fit into any particular rock ‘n roll category but lean towards the heavier end of the musical spectrum. There’s even a documentary coming out that documents the band’s incredible odyssey from a punk rock band to one of the most creative heavy rock bands in music. They’ve written their own heavy rock musical rules. The Melvins have drawn from the pools of heavy metal, punk rock, stoner rock, noise rock, experimental music and other forces of the musical spectrum.
Now in 2016, the Melvins have released their new album Basses Loaded and the trio have set out on a major tour throughout the States including a date in Flagstaff on August 4 at The Green Room. The foundation of the band is singer/guitarist, Buzz Osbourne and drummer, Dale Crover. In true Melvins’ fashion, Basses Loaded contains some of their unique heavy rock and and also encompasses a number of the stylistic territories.
It’s hard to calculate how many Melvins albums there are, but I tried to get an idea and I came up with over 30, including EP’s. They’ve had many good-to-excellent releases, mixed in are some reasonable to own, but not “must-have” albums. The Melvins’ canon“Basses Loaded” is a good release, but rivaled by a couple of their first major label releases “Houdini” (my first Melvins album), “Stoner Witch” or later ones like “The Maggot” (also on Ipecac).
The new album listens a bit different than some of their others, possibly due to having six different bassists playing on “Basses Loaded” including current bassist Steven McDonald (from Redd Kross), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Dale Crover (ex-Melvins), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), Jared Warren (also ex-Melvins), and Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers). If you’re a Melvins fan already, you’ll likely pick up this album and enjoy.
It definitely has some really heavy and catchy Melvins songs like “Choco Plumbing”. The new video for the groove-heavy song “Hideous Woman” is about as un-PC as possible – it’s mightily offensive, funny, and some may call it sick. There’s even a Beatles’ cover song, “I Want To Tell You”, which is a fairly faithful cover although I suspect it will horrify the Beatles’ purists (but that’s how it should be).
Overall, “Basses Loaded” is a unique and enjoyable but I suspect it will fall by the wayside as I grab one of their earlier albums like “A Senile Album” and the aforementioned “Maggot” and “Houdini”. I can’t wait to see them tear up the Greenroom when they lumber into town and I’ll totally enjoy their new material alongside the classics. Though “Basses Loaded” hasn’t replaced previous LPs as one of my all time favorites, it’s still fun and never boring. May the Melvins continue to have a successful and fruitful career.