Classic Day – Wishing Away

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Comprised of mostly what makes the brain tick away, (The) Melvins are most likely the loudest band in attendance for the world. Usually recording at what appears to be constantly in the red, their 1994 release Stoner Witch is as enthralling as it is engaging to the cerebrum.

With a majority of the appeal to Melvins being their seemingly unstoppable work ethic and ability to crush under metallic overtones, Stoner Witch delivers exactly a perfect balance of both droning material and fierce soundscapes.

With King Buzzo Osborne on vocals, guitar, and bass; much of the desired work from Mark Deutrom follows suit as these matching twins of performative style. Rather than conflicting with each other, Buzzo and Deutrom are brothers bound in blood and instruments. The trio wouldn’t be complete without Dale Crover who matches on percussion, guitar, and backing vocals.

Essentially, Melvins are able to combine the ugliness of a shotgun wedding and the uncomfortableness of a burial at sea. Never really seeming at rest, Stoner Witch uses great tension and begins with the shortened, but punchy opening track, “Skweetis.”

Quickly venues are turned to rubble as the bass overpowers and sets feedback into a new dimension. It might be a complete coincidence, but during the time of writing this, my headphone wire began to split and crack in the way that only Melvins can inflict. Much of the lyrics on “Skweetis” make no real narrative sense, and that same theme follows for much of Stoner Witch.

Like a spoken dope head that stuck in his own mind, Buzzo illustrates, “You gone sold you for you lie, caught in a holy. She done hit him roll you go, caught in a hollow yellow.” Truly the draw of Melvins is often their instrumentation and Stoner Witch gives similar nods to Houdini while moving in almost as if it was a more sludge-based older brother that comes back to town.

Later pieces like “Revolve” are standouts for their builds of an instrumental and then the house of cards that collapses on the audience. The production here is simply tied by these energetic stabs in the dark on the strings, while Crover is ferocious on the percussion.

Coming as one of the founding members of the band, Crover on Stoner Witch makes an already well-known presence even more colluded with the limelight. The way he covers all bases on fills and keeping the movement steady is as if he was an octopus on the set.

While Stoner Witch stands on its own merit, the real appreciation is from the loose drone tracks like “Shevil” which is much longer and more dramatic than their other instrumentals here. Like a necessary reprieve, Stoner Witch gives seconds of being trapped in these ritualistic walls of noise.

Not entirely deafening and not entirely muddy, Melvins find a healthy balance through nearly 50 minutes of experimenting with atmosphere and scale. Stoner Witch can take audiences through the mountain, but also bury them deep beneath it as well.

Listen To Stoner Witch Here!!! – Spotify/Amazon/iTunes

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