From Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn to Kevin Rutmanis of the Cows to Shirley Temple’s granddaughter, the Melvins have seen quite a cast of characters pass through their ranks over the course of 20-odd years. But with the addition of the proto-metal duo known as Big Business, they have coalesced into perhaps their mightiest line-up ever, proven on “A Senile Animal.” If you already thought Dale Crover was the most brutal drummer to ever come out of Seattle (sorry, Grohl) when you first tested your ears on sludge nuggets like “Gluey Porch Treatments” and “Lysol,” hearing the band’s intrepid skinsman keep time in tandem with Coady Willis will show how much it allows the Melvins to open up rhythmically.
I mean, who would’ve ever thunk you would ever hear a breakbeat on a Melvins album? But lo and behold, right out the gate you have a Shadow-worthy groove infilatrating the second half of the eruptive opening cut “The Talking Horse.” And then again on “Civilized Worm,” where Coady and Crover keep in twin time to provide nothing less than pure thunder. Maybe it was the song-for-song cover they did of their 1993 “commercial” masterpiece Houdini, but Buzz and the boys haven’t sounded this ready for prime time since they were endorsed by Kurt Cobain. — Ron Hart