Monday 15 April 2024

Melvins - Tarantula Heart (Album Review)

Release Date: April 19th 2024. Record Label: Ipecac Recordings. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Tarantula Heart - Tracklisting

1.Pain Equals Funny

2.Working The Ditch 

3.She's Got Weird Arms

4.Allergic To Food 




King Buzzo on guitar, vocals and electronic noise

Dale Crover on drums/vocals

Steven McDonald on bass/vocals

Special Guest Musicians 

Roy Mayorga on drums/synthesizers

Gary Chester on extra guitar.


Tarantula Heart is the new album from the legendary Melvins who are joined by Roy Mayorga ( Drums/Synths) and Gary Chester (Guitar) for this delightfully creepy ride that can only be created and provided by this iconic band. The album is quite a different sounding album with the band employing a different recording process which King Buzzo explains below:

The way we approached Tarantula Heart was different than any other Melvins’ album,” Buzz Osborne explained upon the album announcement. “I had Dale and Roy come in and play along with Steven and I to some riffs, then I took those sessions and figured out what parts would work and wrote new music to fit. This isn’t a studio approach we’ve ever taken. Usually we have the songs written BEFORE we start recording!

The album opens with a nineteen minute epic song Pain Equals Funny which starts off with bittersweet melodies that transform into a Psychedelic Rock and slightly Grungy direction from the band. You begin to wonder if the band are starting to mellow out with this almost “POP” baked offering. However, give the track a few moments and the real MELVINS appear with distorted guitars, fractured drum structures and sludgy rhythms that turn into a surreal nightmare of experimental noises which will keep their legion of die-hard fans extremely happy. The vocals and lyrics are brilliantly surreal with a twisted “KOOKINESS” to them. The song is perhaps the standout track on the album with some of the most straightforward and experimental sounds contained on the whole album.

Second track Working The Ditch continues with the surreal and drowned out sounds which includes trippy soundbytes before a cool sounding groove appears with that familiar Melvins sludgy beat becoming quite distinct and progressive with some ferocious drumming to match. The vocals and lyrics are in fine nihilistic form with droned out textures and passages appearing within the music. Layered vocals and synths are another major part of this track and for the whole album with Tarantula Heart fastly becoming another essential release from the Melvins. 

Third track She’s Got Weird Arms is classic Melvins through and through with a short running time of under four minutes with the band offering another sweet natured track full of off-kilter Noise/Grunge surreal hooks and twisted melodies. The song can be quite fractured and broken with Melvins playing jagged sounds with a classy “stop/start” approach which only they can fully deliver.

The final two tracks of Allergic To Food and Smiler offers the Melvins classic twisted sense of humour and even more experimental Sludge Metal grooves with the added bonus of twisted Noise Rock distortion that appears within both tracks with perhaps Allergic To Food being another one of the albums standout tracks both from a musical and creative view.

Tarantula Heart has a sense of urgency with this perhaps being some of the fastest and aggressive sounding I’ve heard from the Melvins in quite some time. The album isn’t going to be for everyone but for the band’s dedicated loyal fan-base, they wouldn’t have it any other way. The Melvins never make the same album twice and everything they’ve released sounds different to each other and Tarantula Heart is no exception.

This is a first rate adventure from one of the iconic bands from the Sludge Metal scene and the Melvins have delivered the goods yet again. Awesome. End Of.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Rarely Unable PR for the promo.

Tarantula Heart will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ipecac Recordings from April 19th 2024.


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