Gift Of Sacrifice by King Buzzo with Trevor Dunn

Release date: August 14, 2020
Label: Ipecac Recordings

It’s been six years since Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne released his first full length solo album, and with his main band’s endless touring and recording schedule interrupted first by drummer Dale Crover’s back injury, and now the global Covid-19 pandemic, now seems the perfect time to release his long awaited follow up in Gift Of Sacrifice, where this time he teams up with Mr Bungle / Tomahawk / Fantomas / John Zorn bassist and occasional Melvins (Lite) collaborator Trevor Dunn.

After the brief intro of ‘Mental Vomit’ comes the sombre, downbeat vibe of ‘Housing, Luxury, Energy’, a six-and-a-half-minute lament that has the same discordant feel of much of his This Machine Kills Artists debut effort. The addition of violin and Dunn’s subtle but uplifting basslines adds something different to Buzz’s usual downbeat fayre. It adds another dimension to the songs while keeping the sparse quite minimal feel that worked so well first-time round. The album seems to sway between energetic lighter moments, and slower, darker moments tinged with cynicism and ominous dread.

Dunn really comes into his own during a showdown in the middle of ‘Mock She’ before the songs breaks down towards the end, and you are left with another brief uneasy instrumental closer. The second half of the album is altogether more experimental and more of a challenging listen that the first half, but this is Buzz Osborne we are talking about, easy listening isn’t his thing, so you would be disappointed if even an acoustic project from him didn’t have a darker, more subversive edge.

It’s shorter than the previous album, and having less tracks allows each of the longer songs on it to grow organically, while throwing some occasional shorter interludes between the longer tracks, which breaks it up a little bit. It’s another solid collection of songs to add to a huge and varied catalogue over the last 30 years, and once concerts become an option again, hopefully we won’t be denied the chance to see this partnership perform these songs in a live setting before he settles back into the next Melvins album. There is definitely more scope to explore this route further and it will be very interesting to see where he takes this project next, either with Trevor Dunn or another collaborator.

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