10 Songs

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A CD expansion of the original 6 Songs EP, 10 Songs doesn't bring together all of the early Melvins material – there's a fair amount of compilation only stuff from the time also out there – but still makes for a fun if brief listen. Original bassist Matt Lukin would have made a good long term player for Crover and Osbourne had Mudhoney not come along, pounding out the deep notes as needed for the Black Sabbath-worthy deathfests on display. Of course, even from the start the real appeal of the Melvins lay in the fact that said Sab worship wasn't mere recreation – if Osbourne's singing is high enough at points, he's not pursuing his namesake Ozzy's strangulated wail, at least intentionally. Instead the influence of punk sneering and Gene Simmons's own brand of roaring holds just as much sway, his tales of goony destruction and doom made all the more fun to listen to, even if they're not always interpretable. Osbourne's guitar playing pours out the feedback crunch very well already, while Crover's drumming is pure rampaging pound that mixes fast and slow tempos both. "Grinding Process" wins the prize as the epitome of the band's early days, taking on the death march rhythms with hilarious sass (Osbourne's singing is pure lip-smacking enjoyment in sounding on the edge) and even a descending glam chord at the heart of the chorus. There's plenty of other entertainment, though – "#2 Pencil" conclusively proves that the trio does fast equally well as slow (check out the introduction to the song as a whole) while "At a Crawl" doesn't merely live up to its title but could probably scour drains if need be. The recording quality is pretty rich and full given the circumstances – this could be mistaken for a band's third or fourth release, not its first.

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