Assuming one is familiar with Fantomas and The Melvins -- two incredible, mammoth bands -- one can guess what Millennium Masterwork sounds like. Recorded live at Slims in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2000, this is a fine example of how two seemingly different bands can merge effortlessly into one. The common component here is King Buzzo, guitarist for both groups and leader of the legendary Melvins- a band as important as any in recent history, surviving the grunge movement that it essentially created and emerging as an entity more unique and diverse than anyone could have imagined. It’s no wonder Mike Patton sought him out when compiling his band, Fantomas. Along with heavyweights Dave Lombardo and Trevor Dunn, Fantomas has proven to be one of the most interesting and talented bands in all of hardcore, metal, rock…whatever you wish to call it.
So to celebrate the third anniversary of Ipecac Records, we have one of the great New Year’s Eve shows where the two bands become one. A big band, they call it, featuring the full lineup of each playing as one. Buzzo, Patton, Lombardo, Dunn, as well as drummer Dale Crover, bassist Kevin Rutmanis, and guitarist Dave Stone. Seven players all churning out fabulous musical mayhem; two of Ipecac’s best artists showcasing why they are, indeed, two of the most important bands working today.
Mostly a live interpretation of the first Fantomas record with some Melvins songs thrown in ("Night Goat" sounding especially fantastic), Millennium Masterwork is the perfect CD not only for those already familiar with the bands but as a launching pad for new comers. You may have heard of The Melvins, and you may have been boggled by Fantomas when they opened for Tool last year. So here’s your chance to experience them both at once. This is worth it if only to hear Patton screaming over Melvins songs while Buzzo unleashes his trademark growl (this could serve as a prelude of things to come from Fantomas, as Mike Patton hinted in his Night Times interview). If there is any criticism to be made it is that the CD is too short, like a tease, but I suspect that only by actually attending one of these big band shows could one become truly sated. Slow and menacing sometimes, quick and chaotic at others, Millennium Masterwork is a great present from Ipecac, and at a reduced price as well. Write them a thank you card, godamnit.