Melvins: 18 and only getting better
By
Vincent Francone
6/16/2002 8:04:21 PM

Itís hard to believe that the Melvins exist. But they do.
Q: Who are they? A: The band that has come before and has outlasted Nirvana, the Pixies, The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and all the other "innovative" alt-rockers of the nineties. The Melvins constantly made different, interesting, intense, powerful-as-all-hell rock music. Never afraid to try something different, they had the audacity to release three records in less than one year, thus committing potential commercial suicide. As if that werenít bad enough, those three records (The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby) all sound, more or less, different-- confusing casual listeners who are used to bands that spew out the same recycled songs year after boring year. But not the Melvins. Why should they? They are so much better than that, and just about every other rock band working today. Need proof? Pick up Hostile Ambient Takeover [Ipecac Records].

Eighteen is the age of majority, the age when children (allegedly,) turn into adults. For the Melvins, their eighteenth year is the year in which they have released one of the finest efforts of their career. Hostile Ambient Takeover begins with Dale Croverís crashing drums that give way to punishing Black Sabbath-esque riffs from King Buzzo and Kevin Rutmanis. They call this sonic mayhem "Black Stooges", and it is pure joy, pure astonishment, pure Melvins. The song ends with a prolonged wall of feedback guitar and electronic squalls, living up to the albumís title. "Dr. Geek" hits like a lightening fast country rocker with a chorus that might be catchy if it were decipherable, sliding into the fuzzy sludge rocker "Little Judas Chongo." The true example of a hostile, ambient track is the epic closer, "The Anti-Vermin Seed", a song that allows the boys to stretch out slowly, methodically and weave a sonic tapestry out of repetitive drums, screaming guitars, and the usual brand of Melvins studio trickery. Nothing has been omitted from this record.

Either you know the Melvins, and have already surrendered to them, or you are a newcomer. Or you are one of those people who dislikes them (and is therefore out of their mind.) Regardless of which you are, you should buy this record. Buy it not because it is the latest offering from an incredible rock trio that has influenced so many other bands you probably like, not because of its pretty album art work, not because you think itíll get you indie rock credibility, but because it is a fantastic record. No one could have thought it possible, but they have done it again. Eighteen and still better than most, all hail the Melvins.

 

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