Fantômas / Melvins

Millennium Monsterwork

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Bringing weirdness to a new level, Mike Patton and Buzz Osborne have formed an unexpected working relationship that has resulted in some of the most interesting metal music to come out in some time. Utilizing the brilliant vocal abilities of the former and the sludge guitar mastery of the latter, the two musicians managed to bring together the members of their Fantomas project and the Melvins for one huge concert involving both bands. To say this is high-concept stuff is to underrate how bizarre this actually is, with one-minute noise experiments sitting next to some of the Melvins' more commercial material with no attempt to reconcile the two. Featuring the savage twin drum attack of former Slayer skin basher Dave Lombardo and Melvins anchor Dale Crover (a dream pairing for many drum enthusiasts), the band is a roaring force of energy that surges and grows more complex with every step. Patton's multiple personalities erupt throughout the album, combining his death metal wail, his clear-throated croon, his Tom Waits-esque grunting, and his obsession with Merzbow noise collages into something resembling a Warner Bros. cartoon from the lowest depth of hell. Although it appears to be his affair, the star of the show is Osborne, who has a commanding roar when he gets on the microphone and continues to play incredible guitar parts from start to finish. The only real complaint is the sound quality, which is rather thin and takes the punch out of the percussion, something that will probably bother fans of the two bands. This is definitely an experience that should be absorbed in a concentrated sitting, and not everyone is going to like it, that is a promise. But to daring metal listeners, there is a lot here to appreciate and the lineup is absolutely stunning. Although the phrase may be used too often, this is truly a supergroup from hell, and the results are as confounding as the pairing.

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