Friday, August 21, 2009

Melvins + Lustmord - Pigs Of The Roman Empire (2004)

I picked this up on a whim when I saw it in a little record shop. I had never heard of the Melvins and I knew Lustmord through reputation only. Boy, what a nice surprise! It's like these two artists were made for each other.

The Melvins, for those who don't know, are a sludgy, grungy metal band who used to hang out with Nirvana, but whose music is way, way better. They have always had some experimental tendencies and they are used to good effect here. Lustmord is, of course, the undisputed king of the Dark Ambient genre.

The tracks on this release tend to jump back and forth between the two styles without much evidence of true collaboration... at first. The opener "III" is a spooky bit of slowly building ambient that centers around a clock chime. It leads into "The Bloated Pope," a classic Melvins style tune. However, this illusion is shattered when we get to the twenty-two minute title track, an epic slab of downtuned riffage surrounded by wonderful atmospheric textures. Honestly, I could listen to this track all day. It features the best of what both contributors have to offer.

The rest of the album has both metal tunes with dashes of ambient, and ambient atmospheres with dashes of metal. It all works terribly well, and many of the songs are actually quite catchy (one of the Melvins' strengths.) I know a lot of experimental music lovers out there hate metal, and if you're one of them you probably won't like this. Personally, I am a great lover of swampy, sludgy guitar riffs and those are present in abundance. Add to that the gorgeously sinister electronics of Lustmord and you've got a record that I return to over and over again.

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