What the hell are The Melvins anyways? Stumbling across them in the early 90s, as the college rock of the 80s was slowly becoming pre-label grunge, it was easy to lump them in with that. The lead footed Sabbath references seem to point that way. As time and an endless stream of albums revealed there was more going on than a dropped D.
And to underscore that point, you just have to look at the imagery and press photos. While other bands deemed as HEAVY drape their albums in cliche images, The Melvins just can’t play it straight. Flowers and Children appear more often than Skulls and Fire. Don’t worry, though, you get your skulls!
Surfing across the internet looking for a description to best encapsulate what I’ve been listening to off and on I came across one that works for me. ‘If Captain Beefheart played Heavy Metal, it would sound like this.’ Equal parts of threat and put-on, The Melvins prove that music still has the possibility to confound, un-nerve, and, yes, sometimes, annoy.
To be honest, I’ve never dug too deeply into The Melvins’ backstory or interviews. I know the basics and generally like to keep it that way. There will always be something inscrutable about what they do. Their albums are more felt than understood. How they play with the listeners’ emotions is very unique. You always have your BS detector going but it doesn’t stop ’em from getting to ya.
You can’t help but admire their bullheaded craftiness. For all their left turns and fake outs, I’ve never listened to an album of theirs and heard compromise. Rock is richer for having them around.