Once again I’m going to have to kickoff a review with complete disclosure. I have been a “bad” Melvins fan. I haven’t kept up with the Melvins since 1994’s “Stoner Witch”. I have listened to the few things they have done with Jello Biafra (which are awesome albums) and the album done with Lustmord. So you Melvin purists and ultra-fanboys should probably stop reading now because this review is coming at you from a single view, for a single album. No recent history or background is being considered. I’m not qualified to do so. But I will lay down my thoughts of Tres Cabrones as it stands on it’s own two feet. So here we go…
Yup, it’s the Melvins. It’s fast. It’s heavy. It’s silly at times. It’s crazy at times. The end.
Really though, in an interesting twist this time around, The Melvins have brought back original drummer Mike Dillard and shifted Dale Crover (who replaced Dillard) over to bass duty. Does this have much impact on you? Eh, probably not. Just some interesting trivia/history. This shift in duties does make this line-up for the Melvins closer to the original line-up when the band started so many years ago (30 years ago to be precise).
Things start off nice and heavy with the track “Doctor Mule” with wailing guitars, rocking drums and Buzz’s odd vocals. The track has much more of a rock vibe and less sludgy/metal vibe. The sludge vibe comes along with the next track “City Dump“, which is full of chugging guitars, rock steady drums and Buzz’s signature growl on vocals. This track reminds me of their album Houdini. “American Cow” and “Psychodelic Haze” also keep the slow sludge metal coming.
Tres Cabrones hits the weird wall hard with the track “Tie My Pecker To A Tree“. This guy feels like something Mike Patton might do. Filled with almost cartoon style lyrics and vocals, mixed with nursery rhyme like rhythms. It’s an odd one. The other “weird” track in a similar vein is “99 Bottles Of Beer“. Which starts off very catchy, with a groovy and heavy version of the standard “99 Bottles Of Beer On the Wall.” Then it quickly devolves into an LSD trip complete with chaotic drum blasts, weird chants for “BEER” and off kilter guitars. Speaking of, “In The Army Now” is also another off kilter track. Pretty straight forward musically with catchy drums and guitars that have a military march vibe. The lyrics are what add the weirdness with “…you’re in the army now. You have to milk a cow”. Yeah…just go with it. It’s good stuff.
Like I made clear at the start, I haven’t been keeping up with the Melvins much over their long career. Tres Cabrones is very much a Melvins record in my opinion though. It’s an excellent mix of the various styles and craziness Buzz and the boys are known for. Tres Cabrones is filled with humor, weirdness, punk rock and heavy music. And it’s all done well.
So… yup, it’s (the) Melvins. It’s fast. It’s heavy. It’s silly. It’s crazy. The end.