The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s: #24, Melvins
The ’90s: they were the bomb! That’s why MetalSucks will spend the month of March giving snaps to the decade that was all that and a bag of chips by counting down The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s. These aren’t bands that necessarily formed in the ’90s, nor are they bands that would turn out to be influential somewhere down the road; these are bands that a) were doing their best work in the ’90s, and b) amassed a devout following during the ’90s. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for extreme music. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for yo mama.
There are many who feel that if there was any justice in the world, the Melvins would have been every bit as popular as Nirvana. Those people have a point: the Melvins pre-dated Nirvana, were far more prolific even before Kurt Cobain took his own life, and their biggest crime, insofar as becoming huge rock stars goes, is that they never wrote anything as radio-ready as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Heart-Shaped Box.”
Luckily, it’s not the size of the boat that matters so much as it is the motion of the ocean. Which is to say, there are things far more important than record sales, and by those measures, the Melvins win big. During the ’90s, the Melvins had a staggering 17 releases: nine studio albums, four EPs, three live albums, one singles collection, and a parrrr-tridge in a pear tree. Several of those releases, like Bullhead and Houdini and Stoner Witch, are outright classics; the worst one is still pretty goddamn good, and they all demonstrate an admirable willingness to try new things and steer clear of the same old same old (not for nothing, many different types of bands cite the Melvins as an influence). One cannot overstate the Melvins’ importance to keeping alt-metal and noise rock alive long after MTV had completely forgotten about grunge.
In fact, the Melvins were one of those bands that were ALWAYS around pretty much no matter what the trend of the day was, catering to the underground and the overground in nearly equal measures (crazy to think they were part of Ozzfest in ’98!). This fact becomes all the more impressive when you consider how outspoken and willing to burn bridges they’ve always been; they were fuckin’ punk rock, a touchstone of authenticity in an era ruled by superficiality.
Put more simply: basically every metal band ever has preached “To thine own self be true.” The Melvins are one of the few that actually practiced it. That’s why we fell in love with them in the first place.
Well… that and awesome riffs, of course.
THE LIST SO FAR
#25: Morbid Angel