Melvins Albums Ranked

The Melvins are an American rock band formed in 1983,  in Montesano, Washington. Their early work was key to the development of both grunge and sludge metal. They have mostly performed as a trio, as well as a quartet with either two drummers/bassists in recent years. Since 1984, vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover have been constant members. The band was named after a supervisor at a Thriftway in Montesano, where Osborne also worked as a clerk; “Melvin” was disliked by other employees, and the band’s members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name. Here are all of Melvins albums ranked.

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10. 10 Songs (1986)

“This EP, while not perfect, laid not only the groundwork for melvins’ future sound, but also sludge and grunge as a whole this is probably their most punk non-demo and it works. Buzz already has that aggressive yet doomy guitar style, even though there is a lot of fuzz added. Matt Lukin adds his best b ass work while in the melvins, and Dale proves with his first fill that he is not only talentEd, but ready to improve his technique.”

9. Ozma (1989)

“Amazing. The songs are lurchingly slow one moment, hardcore fast the next, southern rock riffs, total doom weight, abstract ideas, crazed time signatures, amazing sound, one of the greatest drum performances ever, guitar up the butt, unpredictable arrangements, just friggin’ great all the way through”

8. (A) Senile Animal (2006)

“A senile animal could be an old dog that spent most of his life backstage at Black Sabbath concerts. The Melvins, backed up by Big Business here, mostly wade through stoner metal sounds that recall the early seventies, alas with a 1990s production. The band clearly had fun with furious drumming and channeling their favourite metal records.”

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7. Hostile Ambient Takeover (2002)

“With this 2002 album, they returned to great quality and heavy madness. Standout tracks are the slow motion acid trip of “The Fool, The Meddling Idiot”, the almost punkabilly madness of “Dr. Geek” and the colossal epic album closer “The Anti-Vermin Seed”. A truly great album from a great band. And one of my favourite albums from Melvins.”

6. Stag (1996)

“The Melvins’ run of six consecutive amazing records ends with Stag, their first release to characterize the aimless “experimental” tendencies and general decline in quality we’d see for the rest of their existence to this day.  Like on Stoner Witch the tone is really all over the place, but without that album’s sense of flow things feel disjointed.  Totally random instruments and sound effects are thrown in just for the hell of it, detracting more than it adds.  There are still some riffs and it’s not a “bad” release, but for me it’s where the band’s relevance ends.”

5. Stoner Witch (1994)

“A lot of people seem to imply that “Stoner Witch” is a huge deviation in style from what “Houdini” was. And while yes it certainly does future more Stoner Rock in it and less Sludge is it really that big a departure? Once again the second half just goes off the deep end like “Houdini” did only instead of stripped back Sludge we have some Ambient Noise and Experimental Rock passages. We still have the first song being a real awkward choice for an opener (and much like “Hooch”, it’s not a bad song but as an opener it’s just jarring as a thing to start with), and we still end on a long, drawn out Experimental piece that barely has a trace of Rock anything in it.”

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4. Gluey Porch Treatments (1987)

“The kind of album where you either love it all the way through, or it doesn’t do anything for you. I appreciate what they were doing here, but early Sludge Metal just doesn’t have enough going on for me. Without memorable riffs, Sludge tends to rely on atmosphere and delivery, but neither had been developed in the genre at this point, so the release falls flat on my ears.”

3. Bullhead (1991)

“The ultra-slow sludge-doom mega-mountain Boris opens the show with eight minutes of brutal subsonic riffing with bizarre guitar noises serving as kind of a solo. It’s like a vastly improved version of the Old Testament of Sludge – that is, side B of Black Flag’s My War. It also served as the namesake of the world’s favorite Japanese noise-metallers!”

2. Lysol (1992)

“One of their very best. Crushingly heavy walls of droning bass and guitar with nasty, slow, sinister riffs, wailing vocals, and superb drumming. Very focused, and lacking the sophomoric prankster shit that plagues a lot of their output (which I consider a really good thing). “Hung Bunny” is some lovely atmospheric drone doom, “Roman Dog Bird” and their cover of “Sacrifice” are both sublime plodding sludge-monsters, and the “Ballad of Dwight Fry” cover, despite feeling a little stylistically out of place, is a nice melodic breather.”

1. Houdini (1993)

“Just a massive dose of heaviness. The first two songs are a real kick in the face, and “Honey Bucket” is like getting run over repeatedly by a car (but in the “good” way). I’ve just about played those tracks to death and still love ’em, but “Joan of Arc” has become my dark horse favorite.”