Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review #114: The Melvins - Melvins (EP) (1986)


Year: 1986
Genre: Punk Rock, Heavy Metal
Grunge, Hardcore, Sludge
Label: C/Z Records

12 Minutes (Short)
My Rating:

There was a time when almost EVERYONE hated the Melvins. During the late '80s, the Melvins just too weird for most punkers to stomach. Not quite heavy metal, but not quite hardcore. Challenging, bizarre song structures and ridiculously heavy chords mark this period in the Melvins' history. Prior to this time, just not enough people knew about the Melvins. And by "this" time, I mean when Gluey Porch Treatments came out almost a year after this EP. The Melvins had just completed their first U.S. tour in 1985, and by now their fanbase consisted of slightly more than, say, five people. Having already practically invented grunge, the Melvins' hunger for new musical oddities continued. The sound on this record is somewhere inbetween the music on Deep Six and Gluey Porch Treatments (both records contained alternate recordings of many of the songs on here). I'm not sure if you could call the music here sludge metal, but it gets pretty damn close at some points. With C/Z Records just formed, this was the second release ever on C/Z Records after Deep Six. So, here's to the Melvins... let's listen!

1. Easy As It Was
Slow, heavy, and monstrous. Lots of little twists and turns even in the main riff. Dale supplies little drumrolls with a lot of character inbetween the verse and chorus. Excellent drumming. Good song. It would later be featured on Gluey Porch Treatments as "As It Was".

2. Now a Limo
This song's a little faster (which is still slow by non-Melvins standards). The intro begins with a guitar solo. The song's actually pretty short (less than a minute long), but it stands well by itself anyways. Buzz kinda sings along with the ending riff of the song, which I thought was a cool touch.

3. Grinding Process
This song was originally featured in "Deep Six", but this version is slower. Personally I liked the first version the best -- the tempo worked real well on that one. Still, in other senses, there's not a huge difference. Gotta love how Buzz's voice can go from high-pitched to deep in just an instance like that. Needly little guitar solo here. Another way that this version is different from the Deep Six version is the fact that in the ending section, Buzz sings by himself instead of being accompanied by backing vocals. End of Side 1.

4. At a Crawl
Slowest and longest song on the 7"! Perhaps the beginning of sludge metal? This song is heavy as fuck, and while not as slow as what the Melvins would eventually be putting out, it's very slow considering that this was during the era of hardcore punk and speed metal! There is, however, a demo version which predates this song that's significantly faster. The vocals are extremely passionate and awesome. The song would later be on their second LP, Ozma.

5. Disinvite
This is one of the more mid-tempo songs, here. The chorus revs things up even a little more, with Buzz growling "DISINVITE... DISINVITE..." -- awesome vocals, as usual. This one became "Steve Instant Neuman" when they re-recorded it for Gluey Porch Treatments.

6. Snake Appeal
The fastest song. It's a regular hardcore punk song, and actually one of their oldest songs, too (it can be found on "Mangled Demos from 1983"). This version is even faster, though! Guitar solo, also. Aggressive and energetic. Bye bye.

The Melvins, unsatisfied with the quality of these recordings, actually went out of their way to re-record this entire EP. Those recordings are of much higher quality and can be found on the "Ten Songs" album that got released in 1991 (which also includes four bonus songs). A lot of these songs were also later featured on their other albums after this. This iz a good EP, but it still ain't the Melvins at their full potential. Still, if you wanna hear the Melvins during their transitional phase, definitely check this out. And it's still totally good. It's Melvin-tastic, ya might say. Well, I must be going, now. Stay legit.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Snake Appeal
2. At a Crawl
3. Grinding Process

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