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Ozma

Melvins

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Album Review

With Black in on bass and the band relocated to San Francisco, the Melvins started, in a subtle way, exploring and developing their already-trademark sound further. The genre-dipping and out-of-nowhere efforts of later years were still some distance off, to be sure, but moments like the vocal/drum-only part on "Oven" and the needle-thin feedback treatment punctuating "Revulsion/We Reach" (along with occasional chimes) show more chances already being taken. Osbourne's tribute to Ozzy reaches new heights throughout — opening track "Vile" in particular blends that and the running Gene Simmons fascination into a twisted monster, insistent, unnerving, and threatening all at once. "Green Honey" is another great, one of the quicker songs (at least comparatively speaking) going off as a slightly echo-shrouded Osbourne fires off a few quick rambles. Crover once again is the band's not secret weapon, as the clattering start of "Agonizer" and the subtle but spot-on tempo shifts on "Claude" make clear. Black's bass playing is steady-as-it-goes enough not to get in the way of anything, and she and Crover make enough bedrock thump for Osbourne to let loose with both his pipes and his guitar. Whether it's the creepily calm start of "Let God Be Your Gardener," plucking rather than bulldozing forward for once, or the grinding do-not-pass-go attack of "Raise a Paw," Ozma is out for blood and gets it. Killer song titles this time out include "Ever Since My Accident" and "Cranky Messiah." The random what-the-hell moment is right at the end, though — "Candy-O," a cover of the Cars song that shouldn't work but actually does the business. Also fun — consider the lead-guitar melody of "Love Thing" and how it oddly resembles Pearl Jam's breakthrough hit "Alive" from a few years later.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Aberdeen, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Melvins were the first post-punk band to revel in the slow, sludgy sounds of Black Sabbath. Their music is oppressively slow and heavy, only without any of the silly mystical lyrics or the indulgent guitar solos; it's just one massive, oozing pile of dark slime. The Melvins' first record was released in 1987; they've released many albums since then, but it wasn't until 1993 that they went to a major label, thanks to their protégé, Kurt Cobain....
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