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Eggnog is probably the most underrated Melvins release, and I really have no idea why, as it is easily one of their best releases from their golden ’86-’93 era, and just easily one of the heaviest. On previous efforts, most notably 1986’s Gluey Porch Treatments and 1989’s Ozma, Melvins played with more of an almost technical approach to their sludging mayhem, which becomes quite apparent when you pay attention to the song structures. But around the time of this release, they had switched gears a bit. Although the off kilter song structures were still present, they were a bit more simplistic, and instead, all the focus went towards making the heaviest music imaginable, which they succeeded in doing. I am not trying to imply that the 80’s material was not heavy, because it most definitely was. I am just saying that the Eggnog EP was a new kind of heavy for the Melvins.
When you first drop the needle on the first side of this marvelous slab of sludge, the first thing to ooze out of your speakers is the signature booming Dale Crover drum sound. He is easily the best and most innovative drummer that the slow and heavy side of metal has ever seen. After a 20-second drum intro, King Buzzo bursts into the mix with an abrasive wall of feedback and noise, while Lori Black lopes along on the bass with Dale’s kick drum. Upon initial listening, one would expect the rest of the song to be an all-out noise fest, but actually, the climax ends here, and as Buzz’s guitar screeches end, his vocals arrive, starting with a murmur and ending with a yell. Awesome.
“Antioxidote” is a perfect example of the versatility that can be found in the music of the Melvins. One minute they will be playing extraordinarily slow, droning, sluggish sludge metal and the next they’ll be thrashing it up in their own Melvins sort of way. The speed of the song also shows that they do not have to be playing slowly in order to shatter every bong within a 60-foot radius of your speakers.
The last song on the EP before the mighty “Charmicarmicat” is “Hog Leg”, another relatively short number. The song starts out with a collage of samples taken from some Christian propaganda recording, but with rearranged sentence structures. And by that, I mean they take part of a sentence and replace the ending of it with words from another sentence, and once they are tied together they say things such as “we can go to church… and you are naked” and “Christians are commanded… alcohol… is good” (it’s funnier once you hear it for yourself). I would say the highlight of this song is, by far, King Buzzo’s vocals. Imagine him singing his usual nonsensical yet brilliant lyrics such as “rap a tee take a man and send my own” while doing an impression of King Diamond’s falsetto insanity, overtop some classic Melvins heaviness, and that should give you a general idea of what this song sounds like.
And now, onto “Charmicarmicat”, one of the thickest, ooziest, slimiest, and most dirge-like songs they have ever recorded along with “Boris” and “Roman Bird Dog”. This is thirteen minutes of pure SLUDGE, the kind that is just covered in orange hairs and leaves that great sticky feeling on your fingers once you are done with it. It starts with bubbling, crackling guitar feedback while the bass and drums plod along at a snail’s pace. Dale is not doing anything too technical or flashy, but his consistency with the plodding rhythm and unique form of skin pummeling is as present as ever. The guitars in the song are a sludgy mess in the best possible way possible, and along with the bass, they create that massive, thick wall of noise that the Melvins are just so damn good at. Buzz’s vocals are quite sparse in this song, and they play a minimal part in the construction of the song. The main focus here is clearly the repetition and level of immensity created by the instruments.
This is an essential release for any Melvins fan who does not already have it. It is also not a bad place to start if you are new to the Melvins, so get it.