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Melvins Review

by Ned Raggett

Originally and notoriously known as Lysol before the company behind said household product had something to say on the matter (early copies with the original information can be found), Melvins was in many ways the pinnacle of the band at that point. Besides being the full-length farewell to indie rock labels, at least for a few years, it also showed an ambition that arguably they wouldn't have been to fulfill while on Atlantic. Though there are six separate songs on the disc, it is mastered and assembled as one megacomposition, in ways making it the perfect counterpart to the previous year's solo projects. The logical extension of the sheer monstrosity of the band's work up to that time, with longer and longer songs, its first two parts alone are jawdroppers. "Hung Bunny," which takes up the first third of the whole half-hour effort, begins with Osbourne's slabs of feedback and wordless vocals, with only very occasional drum-and-bass hits punctuating them. They rev up in full toward the end as the song shifts into "Roman Dog Bird," which easily stakes a claim as being the most Sabbath-like number the band had yet done -- huge, moving at a snail's pace, and with Osbourne's already on-the-edge vocals flanged and distorted like crazy. One of the most interesting things about Melvins is that in among the mayhem, there are two cover versions included -- both equally understandable sources of inspiration, both comprehensively Melvin-ized. Flipper was an obvious role model for the Melvins' slow-as-it-goes rumble, thus the trudging treatment of "Sacrifice" here. Meanwhile, none other than Alice Cooper himself gets the nod with "The Ballad of Dwight Fry," which actually slots into the whole presentation scarily well (and displays, wonder of wonders, subtlety).

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Melvins 31:21 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick