1994 Atlantic Records
The perfect chaser for “Houdini” and easily the best of a trifecta of Melvins albums that were their only major label releases ever, “Stoner Witch” will forever be my favorite slab of Melvins…the Melvins CD I return to most, although it really works nice in tandem shuffle-play with “Houdini.”
“Skweetis” kicks things off in a superbly sludgy fashion that sounds like the soundtrack to watching someone pour a big jar of molasses…leading right into the sparse-then-pounding “Queen.” From there, King Buzzo and the boyz kick into what is probably my favorite Melvins track ever, the overdriven and stop-on-a-dime-tight “Sweet Willy Rollbar.” It’s one of those two minute shots of greatness that commands repeated listens on brevity alone.
Then it’s onto choice Melvins like “Revolve,” “Roadbull” and “Magic Pig Detective” interspersed with their trademark curveballs like the beautifully agonizing “At the Stake,” and closer “Lividity.” Like its predecessor “Houdini,” “Stoner Witch” is very much its own world and a treasure trove of slow cooking grooves and hooks, some of which don’t sink in until after repeated listens.
It’s amazing really, that a band could get away with being so un-commercial on a major label release. No wonder Buzzo and company get so much respect from so many musical circles so many years after their inception. Melvins have always been a band that just doesn’t take themselves or anything else too seriously and that’s one of the things that makes them so dern much fun.
They’re not a band that everyone “gets,” but for those that do…Melvins just always seem to deliver.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
1993 Atlantic Records
Every once in a while a band will hit a creative mother lode and put out two or three albums in a row that are basically interchangeable in all the good ways. Clutch’s one-two punch of “Blast Tyrant” and “Robot Hive/Exodus” is a great example…just put ‘em in media player or on your iPod and just hit shuffle play.
Melvins have done it with this disc and it’s ludicrously cool follow-up “Stoner Witch.” For the uninitiated, be forewarned that Melvins are indeed a concept and universe all their own. They’re just as likely to hit you with 4 minutes of controlled feedback and a sloth-slow drumbeat as they are to blow your sorry woofers with a hard-hitting workout like “Honey Bucket.” An open mind and sense of humour are most definitely required in the weird wild world of Melvins.
Opener “Hooch” pretty much sets the table for this eclectic and heavy aural feast, bridging the gap between Black Sabbath and Kyuss without sounding derivative, and their cover of KISS’s classic “Goin’ Blind” is really quite excellent.
I dunno…they’re definitely a HEAVY band and deserve their notoriety as the godfathers of grunge. Still raw and crusty after all these years, Houdini was the first of a trifecta of albums that were the only Melvins releases on a major label. What’s really cool is that there was no compromise…the attitude and sound were quite intact on all three discs.
It’s hard to pick out specific individual songs as favorites on an album like this, as it’s best ingested as a whole. If I have to pic faves there would be the aforementioned “Honey Bucket,” “Night Goat,” “Sky Pup,” “Lizzy” and “Pearl Bomb.” Hell, I could name them all really because when I’m in that weird, late night, Adult Swim kinda mood, a good Melvins disc like this satisfies every time.
Rating: 4 out of 5
You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I’ve never met someone who has heard Melvins’ music and been indifferent. When I’m in the mood for that sound, they’re one of my favorites…I just love ‘em. Never afraid to experiement and go WAY out into left field, this is one of their more…um…accessible tracks from the “Houdini” album.
Still wacked out in a Melvins kinda way…and it definitely rocks. Enjoy Abysmally…
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