Monday, 15 December 2014

Melvins "Houdini" (1993)

American Metalers "Melvins" are an interesting group. When it comes to Metal I am fairly well versed, except in the Sludge / Doom sub genres, which would explain why this band has alluded me all these years. They are acclaimed as a group with strong influences on the emerging Seattle Grunge scene in the early 90s, Cobain is even credited for his involvement in the production of this record. Drawing influences from Black Sabbath and Black Flag, Melvins forge slow, sludging music with that obscurer Ginn approach to guitars that can be felt in moments throughout this album. This is their fifth release and one I chose to listen to simply because it was the first full length to appear in a search result, no surprise it is their most commercially successful release too.

The Melvins sound on this record is a mixed bag of approaches to their slow and sludging style which is mostly achieved through song writing, more so than aesthetics. Boasting a light, rock drum kit, clean, slightly gruff vocals and modest overdriven guitars with pale lead tones, Melvins do not need pummeling kits, bludgeoning guitar tones or screams and growls to achieve brooding sludgy sound. Carefully crafted riffs and composed drumming unite to create some decent grooves and head bangers, as well as crushing, slow movers, of which their is a fair variety on this record.

There were many interesting, and captivating moments on this record, but for the good there was equally some drawn out, duller moments too. The flow of this record is a bit sporadic, with the tempos and vibes changing a fair bit from track to track. "Honey Bucket" kicks up the tempo with the albums thrashiest track, to be flowed up with "Hag Me", a lethargic sludger. Both equally good tracks, but the constant changes made it hard to stay with this record. Melvins have every right to experiment and put out varied music, the result is enjoyable but as an album for me it feel short of creating a consistently captivating listen.

Favorite Tracks: Night Goat, Going Blind, Honey Bucket, Copache
Rating: 6/10