Melvins
Houdini


4.0
excellent

Review

by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
December 2nd, 2006 | 176 replies | 24,604 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sludge masters bring their 1993 release Houdini to a more mainstream audience but still manage to keep their signature sound even after a bit of toning down.

3 of 4 thought this review was well written

A major label can sometimes be a big advantage but can give a band some disadvantages. On the one hand, bands get more exposure and a lot more money but on the other, you have more pressure to make the money and a lot less artistic freedom so when legendary sludge metal band The Melvins were asked about joining Atlantic records they said they just liked having a bit more money. That’s understandable but what’s the difference between Houdini and any other album they’ve done? Well this album is a bit more toned down but still contains that signature sound that the Melvins are popular for. It opts to a more grunge sound, it’s probably one of the heaviest “grunge” records.

The Melvins are amazing musicians and they really do show it off even if the album isn’t polluted with technical wank. Buzz Osbourne’s guitar sound is so deep and heavy and the fact that the guitars are tuned to about C or B helps quite a bit. Dale Crover is a miraculous drummer. He’s plays with such power and force and he also gets a lot of chances to show off his fast fills but even when he isn’t going for it, he still keeps the back bone of the Melvins line-up. Same goes for Lori Black, her bass skills are not complicated and are mainly chunky root notes but with it, the music wouldn’t seem as powerful or aggressive. Did I say aggressive? On first look it might not be that case but a dive into the album more explains my point. The aggression is mostly shown in fan favorite “Honey Bucket”. A song designed to make the adrenaline flow, this is not the Melvins messing about and it is definitely not their typical sludge sound.. The track is a heavy punk rock fury number boosted by Buzz’s belligerent guitar textures and Dale’s solid drumming throughout. When listening to the album on first listen, this song is probably the one to hook people in.

The Melvins’ ability to combine punk rock with that distinctive Black Sabbath sludge sound makes Houdini a winner in a lot of places but the fact that a lot of songs may seem plain or too pretentious brings a person’s opinion down quite a bit. People need to see that The Melvins aren’t an instantly accessible band and while Houdini is one of their most mainstream albums, the songs may seem too dissonant or peculiar for a lot of populace. This is the only part where the album shows a flaw, on the other side of the road this particular collection of songs is definitely solid. “Hooch” is a song that screams opener but it really is a wonderful little tune. Not to mention the awesome drum intro and the fact Buzzo pulls no stops, his performance is pretty amazing. “Lizzy” is a different song to the rest of the album (or the Melvins discography in fact). The verses’ guitar parts are obviously country influenced while the chorus brings out that emblematic sound the album shows throughout. Album favorite hands-down is the Kiss cover (yes, you read that correct). King Buzzo and his companions turn the only decent Kiss song into a big pile of stinking sludge (not meant in a negative light but you see where I’m getting at). Houdini is a solid album from start to finish though with a few average tracks and the annoying experimental bits. Though not accessible, it is unquestionably accessible by the Melvins standards and something that grunge and non-extreme metal fans would enjoy.



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user ratings (580)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
December 2nd 2006



3243 Comments


Wrote this in honor of me going to see them next Friday.

Two-Headed Boy
December 2nd 2006



4527 Comments


Your awesomeness revolts me :angry:.

I need some Melvins.

TheMisterBungle
December 2nd 2006



861 Comments


Great review. This is my only Melvins cd and I like it quite a bit.


MrKite
December 2nd 2006



5020 Comments


You are fucking lucky to be able to go see them.
Great review, too.This Message Edited On 08.17.07

RottedFlesh
December 2nd 2006



213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I bet your gonna have fun -_-
...great review!

Neoteric
December 2nd 2006



3243 Comments


You are ****ing lucky to be able to go see them. They're so awesome and I was gonna get a cd by them but there weren't any at the cd store.

Great review, too.
and Flipper are supporting with Krist Novoselic on bass :cool:


nirvana1989_nb
December 2nd 2006



98 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wow any chance of Melvins and Flipper coming to England... I know bout ATP at xmas but thats like 500 miles from me... Go 2 LONDON PLLZZ BUZZ! Geeks unite...

MrKite
December 2nd 2006



5020 Comments


I hate you so much right now Neoteric.
Tell me about, will you? I never heard either live but I like them both.This Message Edited On 12.02.06

_Mote_
December 2nd 2006



33 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stoner Witch > Houdini in my opinion.

AlienEater
December 3rd 2006



716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Most other Melvins albums > Houdini

TheMisterBungle
February 1st 2007



861 Comments


Ugh this will not grow on me.

TheMisterBungle
February 9th 2007



861 Comments


But now I'm starting to like it more.

MassiveAttack
February 9th 2007



2684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

By far my favorite Melvins album, truly an amazing listen by the 'Godfathers of Grunge'

myron
August 17th 2007



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I usually put this on from Honey Bucket. what an amazing 25 minutes. if the first four tracks were as good as the last 6, this would be my favourite album

badtaste
October 7th 2008



824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holy crap, a woman bassist. Awethome.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2008



17913 Comments


ugh fuck neoteric's horrible writing

NortherlyNanook
October 7th 2008



1285 Comments


Holy crap, a woman bassist. Awethome.


Not too uncommon.

badtaste
October 7th 2008



824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not too uncommon.


True, true, but I usually expect to find female bassists in alt/indie rock bands only, not elite sludge metal bands like the Melvins.This Message Edited On 10.07.08

theBlackWidow
July 9th 2010



465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fucking chaos at its best!

theBlackWidow
July 9th 2010



465 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It grew on me as soon as I took a listen.



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