Monday, June 13, 2011

Review #230: The Melvins - Ozma (1989)


Year: 1989
Doom Metal/Hardcore Punk
Boner Records
Length: 35 Minutes
My Rating:

"Ozma" is the second full-length record from the Melvins... shortly after the release of their first album, the Melvins split with Matt Lukin and decided to move down south out of the redneck shithole known as Aberdeen, Washington to the more musically happening land of San Francisco, California! There they met a new bass guitarist named Lori Black who previously was in a thrash band called Clown Alley and also the daughter of the actress Shirley Temple! I believe Buzzo even was dating her for awhile but I'm not entirely sure if this iz a fact or not. At this time they also got signed to a new label called Boner Records which was apparently reliable enough to release 6 more albums for the band within the next several years... Boner Records is run by Tom Flynn, a member of Fang. He also played bass for the Melvins for a short while when Lorax was sick and Slammytown was in prison for you-know-what...

In a lot of ways Ozma is very musically similar to Gluey Porch Treatments, but there are subtle differences between the two... first off, the mix on this record feels a bit weaker... the drums are louder than the guitars... I usually look to the Melvins for heavy, powerful guitar riffs, but on this album the guitar feels a bit more muffled than it should. Nonetheless, it doesn't really ruin this album. Also, as weird as GPT was, this album is a bit more, well, weird in composition, and the songs are even more unpredictable... not as Black Sabbath-y and more Black Flag-y here. Probably the closest a Melvins record gets to sounding like a Black Flag record production wise... would remind me of "My War" if the drums weren't as trebly. It's still an fucking great record that would blow me away if it came out todday but I find it to be the weakest Melvins record of the pre-Atlantic period since it has a few too many so-so songs and the production have as much of an "oomph" to it. But I'm not here to Ozma-bash todday, I'm here to sing its praises to all the littel flowerchildrun of the WORLLLLDDDD...

1. Vile
This song used to be called "Vile Vermillion Vacancy" back in the mid-'80s and this version of the song has, like the title, been shortened a bit. The song starts off with a weird humming noise speeding up, and then a deep, heavy guitar riff plays... now you fucking KNOW it's THE MELVINS, MANG!! YA KNOW IT... Buzz's voice has transformed from a youthful growl to a wail of mayhem starting with this album. The riff just chugs along... one chord is all it takes. All it takes in the verse section, as the drums climb up the Stairway to Heallven and the like. The original version of the song (V.V.V.) had a bunch of extra sections but that is absent here...

2. Oven
This song's a little quicker... feels kinda like thrash metal. After the first part, the song changes into a section with only a drum beat and Buzz yelling more nonsense! Thun the loud guitar pummeling ambushes again.

3. At A Crawl
The Melvins had written this song pretty early on, and it even appeared on their first E.P. and on an obscure K Records comp before that. This time it's gone total fucking heavy ground-shattering boulder mode, like a bull charging at .10 miles per hour but with all the same intensity n' density! "FUCK... I'M CRAWLIINNN''.... ON MAH BELLY CRAWLIN'.... SUCKIN' LIVINNNN'... DIVINE MESSSSS!!!!" -- the next-to-holy moans and shouts of agony from Buzzed Osborne, the afro-headed guitarist/vocalist/founder of the FUCKING MELVIN BAND, KIDZ! This song really does feel like yer crawlin', just gasping for water/air/whatever, just in pure torment, yer fucked up under the weight of all that doth oppress... there's backing vocals on this recording of the song which I think is a nice touch but I can't tell if it's Dale or Buzz himself doing them. This version doesn't have the long drawn-out ending part.

4. Let God Be Your Gardener
An especially creepy cut... it starts off with a slow lead-driven intro with a spooky type of sound to it... it transitions into another part, and then abruptly into the main part of the song, which when it is done is totally unexpected yet it flows... really creepy feel to that. From then onwards is pretty hard-rocking, just a nice punk rawk riff and cool weird lyrics and singing...

5. Creepy Smell
Starts off with a drum intro as Buzz whispers things off in the distance. Then the magick starts up and the song gets real fucking hot... love that guitar riff. It's really aggressive and powerful. Then there's a slow part towards the end with the unforgettable line: "CREEPY CROVER". HEY DALE... BUZZ THINKS YER CREEPY!!!!

6. Kool Legged
This one is extremely slow... very similar to the types of songs the band would start cranking out in the early '90s but not quite the same thing since this song is less than three minutes long... I can't help but think he's talking about a vaggina when he sings "THE RIVER WHERE YOUR LEGS MEET"... what do you think? THERE'S A PICTURE OF JESUS AS AN INDIAN. Love that line. In the middle there's an odd part with Buzz moaning with weird jangly wiggly guitar noises. Love it!

7. Green Honey
Starts out with a really cool drumbeat and then it gets to a more upbeat mode kinda like the beginning of "Oven". I think the lyrics are supposed to be about getting venereal disease or something. V.D. sucks.

8. Agonizer
Starts with a cool drum intro like many songs here do. Unfortunately this song doesn't do a ton for me. It's just kinda there, and it's decent but nothing that unique about it. End of Side A.

9. Raise a Paw
This one's pretty cool. It has a cool boingy guitar sound and a funky lil' bass line and a hard drivin' drum beat. PAW GRANT ME IT'S WISDOM! The "waste nothing ever you never" part at the end with the zig-zag guitar part just lingering at the end sounds awesome too.

10. Love Thing
This is a cover of an instrumental by the band KISS. It's short but it's decent. The bass guitar reminds me of funk metal like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Faith No More or something. It fades out...

11. Ever Since My Accident
It's funny because the original version of this song was extremely fast and frantic... well, the franticness is still here but in a different form. I mean, it's practically a completely different song, but maybe I'm missing something here... it fades in like a large snake crawling in, ready to constrict its prey and consume. Slow. I STAND ALONE LIKE A TREE! ALONE I STAND! Nice scary guitar riff here.

12. Revulsion/We Reach
Two songs in juan. The first song is "Revulsion". It's a pretty good song. Slow, heavy, weird intro, y'know the drill. Or do you? Halfway through, the song "We Reach" begins, which is even slower and cooler. The guitar riff sounds like a chisel ripping off chunks of wood from something very large and hard and made of wood (a penis, maybe?). I love slow music. This one is laden with ghostly humming of feedback and very somber-feeling... pretty bassy, also. Strong bass presence. Buzz roars at times... whispers so soft at others.

13. Dead Dressed
This one kicks a lot of ass. Nice guitar riff and sweet singing and drumming. It's pretty close to bein' the full package.

14. Cranky Messiah
I get the image of Jesus being really grumpy and hung over and whiny with this one.

15. Claude
Twisty n' turning. Claude Monet, maybee??

16. My Small Percent Shows Most
Shortest song on the album. It starts with a cool guitar melody, starts off sounding pretty normal and gets more weird and discordant from there onwards. Hell yeah!

17. Candy-O
An actual pop song on this record! It's a cover of a song by the Cars. It's better than the original and it rocks hard and should get any party going, fuckers! The "CANDY-O... I NEED YOU SO" part kills! Makes me wanna eat M & M's at night on a full moon. Sadly this song is only available on the CD version.

So yeah, there's OZMA, baby!! It's a pretty sweet album... after this album the band changed things up and started making their music insanely slow and droney. If you like non-generic, aggressive music that's true to the punk attitude but can appreciate all that is good about heavy metal, then this record is for you. Do listen, it may change your life. THE MELVINS RULE, OK??!!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. At a Crawl
2. Creepy Smell

3. Candy-O

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