The Melvins have been around for over thirty years, their first album 10 Songs was released in 1986. They have released over 30 albums and countless EP’s, but until A Walk with Love & Death, they had never released a double album. Love & Death rings in at 23 tracks and one hour and twenty-one minutes, which at first glance seems proportionally epic for a band that has been so prolific. Unfortunately, this is not a double album in the conventional sense. It is two different albums presented in a single package.

The first, Death, is an excellent new Melvins album, while the second, Love, is a soundtrack for an experimental short film by Jesse Nieminen. Out of context, not having seen the film, there is no way to tell how good the music complements the image. Purely from a listening standpoint, the album is a collection of noise, soundbites, with little instrumentation or structure. Love is not something that anyone will put on to enjoy. Drummer Dale Crover has described the film as “one giant, dark, moody, psychotic head trip! Not for the faint of heart. You’ll sleep with the lights on after listening.” and that describes the contents of Love perfectly.

Death, on the other hand, is some of the Melvin’s strongest work in years. “Black Heath” is the band at their sludgy doom rock best, slow and heavy to the point of almost caving in on itself over the six-minute runtime. “Sober-Delic (Acid Only)” features an amazing blues-drenched Buzz Osborne guitar solo over Black Sabbath inspired psychedelia. “Flaming Creature” is by far the heaviest song on the album, with a punishing bassline. “Euthanasia” and “Christ Hammer” are vintage Melvins and prove that they still rock.

“What’s Wrong with You?” features That Dog lead singer Anna Waronker on guest vocals on a punk-infused almost surf leaning departure. “Cactus Party” features backup vocals by Terry Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes and Crystal Fairy. Joey Santiago from the Pixies also lends his guitar chops. The guest artists add a little variety, elevating the songs.

Death could have been a perfect album for the Melvins, but with the songs on Love tied around its neck like an albatross dragging it down, it lessens the whole. Uncomfortably paired together, it just makes the listener long for what could have been and hoping for a true double album in the future.

The Melvins played the Troubadour here in Los Angeles on July 7th. Buy the pink and violet exclusive vinyl colorway here.

Melvins Tour Dates:

July 12  Portland, OR  Hawthorne Theatre
July 14  Vancouver, BC  Venue Nightclub
July 17  Edmonton, AB  Union Hall
July 18  Calgary, AB  The Marquee
July 20  Winnipeg, MB  Pyramid Cabaret
July 21  Fargo, ND  The Aquarium
July 22  Minneapolis, MN  Grumpy’s Bash
July 24  Milwaukee, WI  Turner Hall Ballroom
July 25  Chicago, IL  The Metro
July 26  Grand Rapids, MI  The Pyramid Scheme
July 27  Detroit, MI  El Club
July 28  Cleveland, OH  Grog Shop
July 29  Columbus, OH  A&R Music Bar
July 31  Pittsburgh, PA  Rex Theater
August 1  Syracuse, NY  The Westcott Theater
August 2  Boston, MA  Paradise Rock Club
August 3  New York, NY  Irving Plaza
August 4  Philadelphia, PA  Union Transfer
August 5  Asbury Park, NJ  The Stone Pony
August 6  Baltimore, MD  Ottobar
August 8  Richmond, VA  The Broadberry
August 9  Carrboro, NC  Cat’s Cradle
August 10  Knoxville, TN  The Concourse
August 11  Louisville, KY  Headliner’s Music Hall
August 12  St. Louis, MO  The Ready Room
August 13  Lawrence, KS  The Bottleneck
August 15  Englewood, CO  Gothic Theatre
August 17  Salt Lake City, UT  Urban Lounge
August 18  Las Vegas, NV  Psycho Fest
August 20  San Jose, CA  The Ritz
August 21  Santa Cruz, CA  The Catalyst
August 22  Los Angeles, CA  The Echo
September 5  Phoenix, AZ  Crescent Ballroom
September 6  Tucson, AX  191 Toole
September 8  Austin, TX  The Mohawk
September 9  Dallas, TX  Tree’s
September 10  San Antonio, TX  Paper Tiger
September 11  Houston, TX  Warehouse Live (Studio)
September 13  New Orleans, LA  One Eyed Jack’s
September 14  Pensacola, FL  Vinyl Music Hall
September 15  Jacksonville, FL  Jack Rabbit’s
September 16  Tampa, FL  The Orpheum
September 17  Ft. Lauderdale, FL  The Culture Room
September 18  Orlando, FL The Social
September 20  Athens, GA  40 Watt Club
September 21  Atlanta, GA  The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
September 22  Nashville, TN  3rd & Lindsley
September 23  Memphis, TN  Hi-Tone
September 25  Madison, WI  High Noon Saloon
September 26  Rock Island, IL  Rock Island Brewing Co.
September 27  Des Moines, IA  Wooly’s
September 28  Omaha, NE  The Waiting Room
September 30  Ft. Collins, CO  Aggie Theatre
October 2  Albuquerque, NM  The Launchpad
October 3  Flagstaff, AZ  The Green Room

Watch the trailer to the Jesse Nieminen short film “A Walk with Love & Death” below:

A Walk with Love & Death