"The Bootlicker" isn't the blissful CD brimming with pop melodies I anticipated, but the promise of unconventional Melvins material still rings true. The second recording of a trilogy, "The Bootlicker" is essentially the Melvins minus the heavy-metal distortion. Singer/guitarist King Buzzo's howls have softened into haunting, sensuous whispers. Without all the noise, the sedate, complex arrangements expose the group's prog-rock influences more than ever. I imagine the satanists from the film Rosemary's Baby substituting "Black Santa" and "We We" for traditional lullabies while rocking the antichrist child to sleep every night. Freed from having to smash his kit to pieces, drummer Dale Crover's liberal use of the sleigh bells, gong and cow bell indicates how creative a musician he can be underneath the group's audio slaughter.
How different is this record from conventional Melvins fare? Well, the experimental "Prig" begins with five minutes of noise, keyboards and beats before launching into a slow, countrified jam with acoustic guitar and piano.