The Melvins' King Buzzo eats brutality and craps sludgy metal riffs, so many fans wouldn't expect a solo acoustic record from the rock god, but This Machine Kills Artists isn't your typical acoustic record. It's chock-full of chunky riffs, face-melting solos, and monstrous vocals.
From the previously heard "Drunken Baby" to the beautifully dissonant "The Blithering Idiot," Buzz Osborne set out to make a stoner rock record on which the distortion had been turned off. The layers of ethereal vocals float like smoke around the thick columns of virtuosic guitar, but it's not overly complicated. It's as well put together and written as any Melvins record, just with fewer pieces.
The entire album was recorded without the use of electric guitars, amps, or DI boxes, which is especially impressive when considering the heavy, intricate guitar work on tracks like "The Ripping Driving" or "Instrument of God." Buzzo spoke previously about his intentions with This Machine:
I have no interest in sounding like a crappy version of James Taylor or a half-assed version of Woody Guthrie, which is what happens when almost every rock and roller straps on an acoustic guitar. No thanks… This Machine Kills Artists is a different kind of animal.
Each song is spectacularly titled -- including favorites such as the slowed-down "How I Became Offensive," the finger-blistering "Useless King Of The Punks," and the droning "Illegal Mona" -- but the album's title is two knowing nods in one. The obvious one is a hat tip to the legendary inscription on Woody Guthrie's guitar, but the second is a self-deprecating acknowledgement that making an acoustic record isn't always the smartest career move. Fortunately, the title acts as a reverse-RMS Titanic. By declaring that he knows it could sink him, but ultimately not giving a shit, King Buzzo made a record that he wanted to make which is always a crucial factor in creating an excellent record.
This Machine Kills Artists isn't your acoustic record. It's brutally heavy in spots, charmingly written, and put together like a rock album. It flows well, the sounds are diverse and creative, and it proves once and for all that it's ok to rock out to an acoustic guitar.
The record will be out June 3rd on Ipecac. Stream it above and pre-order it through Amazon.
This Machine Kills Artists Tracklist:
1. "Dark Brown Teeth"
2. "Rough Democracy"
3. "Laid Back Walking"
4. "Drunken Baby"
5. "Vaulting over a Microphone"
6. "New River"
7. "The Vulgar Joke"
8. "Everything's Easy for You"
9. "The Ripping Driving"
10. "How I Became Offensive"
11. "Instrument of God"
12. "The Spoiled Brat"
13. "Illegal Mona"
14. "Good and Hostile"
15. "The Blithering Idiot"
16. "Useless King of the Punks"
17. "The Hesitation Twist"