The Melvins never let much of a foundation grow underneath their feet before they are switching the line-ups of the group, reworking to incorporate some new style of sound, or completely overhauling their direction. Each release comes as a new journey that sometimes explodes with fury or adapts with tension, but (A) Senile Animal holds something Earth-shattering in an already pulverizing group.
The dictation of two drummers on the record is a direct offshoot of Big Business, a band from Seattle that were able to create a powerhouse of proportions. The team-up of two different drummers might appear as a challenge, but for the Melvins, they were able to successfully split the work and boost each other up as Jared Warren on bass and Buzz Osbourne on guitar stand their ground as well. (A) Senile Animal opens with the frantic gas-lit piece, “The Talking Horse” with memorable percussion crashes and segues into the more punk-bloodline that the Melvins originally started with.
The instrumentation on Melvins’ records are always the standout, but here (A) Senile Animal is exactly what the title states. The record is a senile animal that has no real control and seems to act without any noticeable code of morals. Stretching over 41-minutes, each track flows better into the next than the last and with a punishing four-piece, Big Business and the Melvins spawn some hell to raise over 10-tracks.
One of the more approachable and steady tracks is “Civilized Worm” that holds some beauty behind the often blitzing sound. It is a mellow interlude of sorts with a shining guitar solo that is almost more based on bedroom-pop rather than punk or metal ability. Most of (A) Senile Animal is fairly diverse that can show multiple faces even within one song. From the gentle graces in the introduction of “Civilized Worm” to the shift where the band continues to build and then eventually destroy, every component feels necessary.
As the Melvins transition to “The Hawk,” the way the wheels of this mine cart ride start to really turn back into the sludge and muddy playstyle with somehow coincidingly clean production is spectacular. Both Coady Willis and Dale Crover on percussion go seemingly head-to-head at the end of the track in this drum-off that impressive but also a fitting end to the berserk shift that the Melvins take throughout the record.
(A) Senile Animal is a strange deep-sea dive that uncovers many different animals with many different faces. As the record continues to pull and push the listener in these obtuse directions, the Melvins are the master puppeteer that cuts the strings once the listener seems to get a grasp on the environment. As they plunge farther into the blackened sea, (A) Senile Animal is able to conquer its next victim as time moves on.