Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani.
How many bands have been born of the Melvins’ northwestern sonic toil? Likewise, how many groups have formed as a direct result of Napalm Death’s genre-founding 1987 album Scum? The lineage of these two bands is among the strongest in all of heavy music; nary an influential group in the spectrum of alternative rock to extreme metal –from Nirvana to Tool to Boris to Carcass to Sunn 0))) to Soilent Green—doesn’t owe a debt to them. And though the two collectives share a history of rotating members, the integrity of their output has remained distinct for over three decades.
2016, then, is shaping up to be another fruitful year for both bands: Napalm are touring on the back of their 2015 release, Apex Predator – Easy Meat—lauded as one of the group’s best in their sixteen album-strong discography. Melvins are putting out not one, but two records: a collaborative album titled Three Men and a Baby—recorded with godheadSilo bassist Mike Kunka in 1999 and finally seeing the light of day last month—and Basses Loaded, a full-length featuring all of the group’s current roster of bass players (as well as a guest spot by Krist Novoselic.) In addition to offering new songs, the album compiles an EP and a split release with Le Butcherretes that the band put out last year (Beer Hippy and Chaos as Usual, respectively,) as well as another EP from January of this year, called War Pussy. Teaming up with Japanese noiseniks Melt-Banana, the trio embarked on the appropriately titled ‘Savage Imperial Death March’ tour in late March—stopping by Portland’s Roseland Theater on Tuesday.