The Melvins

The Melvins

Boner Records, 1992

REVIEW BY: Allen Hunter


Gazing at an album cover that reveals a Native American upon a steed, arms wide and raised, and head tipped back staring into a sun-drenched Western sky, can open thoughts of symbolism referencing spirituality or tranquility. As a painting based on a sculpture by Cyrus Edwin Dallin named Appeal To The Great Spirit, perhaps it is intended as irony for a sludge metal album, or -- maybe for that same reason -- artistic implication. Either way, it is only the mysterious cover of what became somewhat of a controversial album.

Originally named my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Lysol, the album was released with the band still unaware of the fact that the chosen title was protected under law. The first consignment of record jackets and CD booklets contained the name and had already been printed. After requesting permission from Reckitt Benckiser to use the name, permission was denied. Black ink and tape was then used on each album cover and spine to cover the trademark name, resulting in the disc being a self-titled release, Melvins.

Once again persevering from the corporate battles that the band had striven to avoid throughout their career, the band succeeded in producing a work of heavy material still loved and enjoyed by their loyal fan base. Standing as an anti-establishment symbol for those who chose to look that deep, it arrived as no more than great music written by dudes who love what they do.

The line-up for this album included Buzz Osbourne (guitar, vocals), Dale Crover (drums), and Joe Preston (bass), who delivered not lightning-fast intensity, but a slow-paced downbeat.

As the opening riff lights up the first track, “Hung Bunny,” Buzz creates a droning wall of sludge that perpetuates for over ten minutes, with backing melodic vocals from other members, melding into the second track, “Roman Dog Bird.” All songs are written by Buzz including the closing track, “With Teeth,” except tracks three through five, which are collaborations with other artists.

Written by the band Flipper, “Sacrifice” is an ominous anthem easily sung to. Surprisingly enough, shock rocker Alice Cooper has a hand in writing the next two tracks, “Second Coming” and “The Ballad of Dwight Fry,” along with Michael Owen Bruce, original guitarist of the Alice Cooper Group.

Although this album did not achieve high recognition, it remains another heartfelt throb from this influential group, belonging in every fan’s personal vault.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2011 Allen Hunter and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Boner Records, and is used for informational purposes only.