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Melvins: Hold It In (Album Review)

After 30-odd years, dozens of lineup changes and 96 billion releases, the Melvins don’t even seem like a band. It’s like the Melvins are more a lab for trying stuff (any kind of stuff) out, a weirdo alt-metal Xanadu.

So, no surprise that ex-Butthole Surfers Paul Leary and JD Pinkus would find safe haven there. Hold It In has Pinkus’s bass holding down the rhythm section with drummer Dale Crover, while Leary adds wailing sonic texture to King Buzzo’s chug-a-lug riffs. On paper, the team-up promises a kind of abrasive, gross, brown metal mashup, a suspicion seemingly confirmed by jokey song titles like Bride Of Crankenstein and Piss Pisstofferson.

But somehow, it’s their most accessible release in ages. The Melvins hit the riff-heavy heights of their foundational 90s records while freewheeling into plenty of experimentation (like chimes and accordions on The Bunk Up) and straight-up curiosities. And Eyes On You is probably the best surveillance-state banger of the year.