The Melvins The Bulls & The Bees EP

Fri 13th April 2012


/incoming/bulls.jpgOr to give its full official title ‘Scion A/V Presents: The Melvins- The Bulls & The Bees’.

Scion, for those of you who don’t know, is a car range from Toyota and the A/V project sees them aligning themselves to a slew of musical styles by sponsoring gigs, festivals, films and recordings . I for one am not at all comfortable with the whole notion of corporate sponsorship of bands/ music projects. A quick bit of research shows that the Melvins are far from being the only band to be involved in this project, just the first to register on my radar. Previous bands involved include Yob, Municipal Waste, Magrudergruind, Meshuggah, Reigning Sound, Exodus, Integrity (oh, the irony…) and others from genres such as hip hop and dance. I’m not going to go on an extended diatribe about the evils of multinational corporations; this is after all a music review for a music site, I just get a bad feeling when big business (no pun intended ) cosies up to bands/ artists/ filmmakers. There must surely be some ulterior motive behind the whole project, not just a PR exercise to provide humankind with lovely free downloads of tracks from a plethora of respected bands.

Anyway, onto the music. The Melvins are pretty much a love ‘em or hate ‘em band and despite being a little underwhelmed by some of their recent releases, I’m still firmly in the love ‘em camp.

This free to download EP features 5 tracks that see Buzz & co in familiar territory, favouring the rocking side of their character rather than the experimenting/ arsing about side which I think sometimes works and sometimes grates. Here they’re pulling another cluster of great riffs out of their seemingly endless supply but with a few choice flourishes of their creative side to stop it getting too predictable..

Opener ‘The War on Wisdom’ kicks off in typical catchy head banging fashion, with a tasty groove begging for a bout of dandruff swapping, pausing for a drum fuelled breakdown before drifting into a nicely picked out guitar/ vocal passage and big fuzzy bass riffing from Jared.

‘We Are Doomed’ is a slower paced follow up, which alternates between quieter picked out verses and louder, group vocalled interludes before heading out on a customary Melvins twisted pizicatto heavy guitar excursion. Next up ‘Friends Before Larry’ has more of the experimental/ odd noises getting a look in, starting off like a sci-fi soundtrack giving way to a bass heavy synth drone, layered up with various guitar effects, distant vocals and slow stop/start drum patterns. Although this is not as rocking as the previous two songs, it’s an interesting and memorable tune which should remind the cynics amongst their detractors (and followers) that the Melvins can happily twist the genre without getting self indulgent and tedious.

‘A Really Long Wait’ comes next, offering a gentle string-backed interlude, it’s quieter approach acting to provide a more unsettling and spooky ambience to the sound, the distant vocals adding to the sense of dream-like unease; again I get the feeling that this would work very well in an atmospheric horror or concept sci-fi film. I can’t help wondering why the Melvins have never explored this medium further, maybe opportunity will come knocking soon?.

Proceedings are neatly wrappd up by closer ‘National Hamster’, bringing us firmly back into rocky riff territory, although at a fairly relaxed pace. This is the Melvins doing tuneful rather than ugly, the trebly lead signature adding a pleasant hook to proceedings. Frustratingly, the song does sort of fizzle out which provides a slightly disappointing ending to a great little EP.

Misgivings about the money behind it aside, this is a tasty little freebie. Download it here.


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    •  mikemike
    • Add your comments here!
    •  sabbathfansabbathfan
    • Not familiar with The Melvins music but the whole corporate sponsorship thing is worrying. I do wonder if that's just going to be the long-term replacement for record labels. Though record labels can be just as bad as car firms for wanting corporate product.

      It's not really much different from ancient Rome where if you were a poet/playwright then usually you had to find a rich patron to back your work. Same idea. But it is concerning.
    •  sabbathfansabbathfan
    • I suppose my main concern with the whole corporate sponsorship thing is that as labels get less and less willing to fund bands the way they did pre-downloading, are we heading towards an age where the only way to hear music might be through the supposed benevolence of a corporate entity?

      EDIT: - which basically runs the risk of reducing music to a set of advertising jingles?
    •  PodgePodge
    • These days there is an ever diminishing need for record labels. If anything I think this will level the playing field, gone are the days of the label forking out huge amounts for recording, promotion and advances and with it, gone are the days of the huge bands. Instead we'll see loads more smaller bands putting out their own stuff. Hopefully this will encourage diversity and weed out the rubbish bands as few people are going to be overly influenced by what they see and hear as being popular and trying to replicate it.