Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2023
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The more you know the brain, The more it homicide - 80%

hippie_holocaust, November 30th, 2011

Stag marks the end of the Melvin dynasty at the mighty label of Atlantic. After three great records of pure, unabashed musical expression, it became apparent to the big label that the Melvins were not the next Nirvana. Stalwarts in their uncompromising artistic vision, King B and his court have always made music with a distinct weirdness that draws from an array of influence, including everything from Sabbathian sludge to chaotic chasms of noise terrorism.

The uniqueness of this band is made clear within the first notes of opening track (and masterpiece) “The Bit.” This anthemic brute treats the listener to a minute of lovely sitar music before the tumult ensues, swallowing the world in a sea of dropped-d devastation. “Not too fat, not too lean, the foundling die is close excitedly. Raise head and STOMP the BLOOD, I’m not even soundly.” Ever-shrouded in mystery and mythos, the poetry of Buzz Osborne has had scraggly-haired stoners scratching their heads since the early eighties. Buzz-O is not the type to be imprisoned by the boundaries of English or syntax, creating a wordcraft all his own. “The Bit” would appear to be anything from a moral commentary on animal cruelty to dialogue on the inner workings of the entertainment industry. Whatever it is, it’s fucking profound, and it’s punctuated perfectly by the percussive punishment of Dale Crover. This dude is what you call a heavy hitter, one of those guys that “plays too loud” and makes trained musicians cringe at the sound of his fearless, utterly unrestrained assault. See the album Stoner Witch, song “Roadbull,” for one of the most crushing and abstractly heavy drum performances in rock and roll history. Dale C loves to brutalize with his rack and floor toms, as you will find at about two minutes deep into Stag.

Songs such as “The Bit” and the aforementioned “Roadbull” are what make the Melvins metal. By this point in their career they had seemingly become bored with rock music, and half of Stag is strange noise-music or cheeky doodlings. These segues are what make the Melvins the Melvins; don’t skip them, as my teenage self once did, for they do tie the album together and make its otherworldliness complete. If you want more metal and slightly less miscellaney, reach for their ’93 opus Houdini. And if you need more proof of the Melvins being metal, look up Brutal Truth’s cover of their song “Zodiac.”

Alas, there are but two songs of full-blown metal on Stag, those being “The Bit” and the tenth track “Buck Owens.” Turn this one (way) up. Despite the peculiar title, this is one of the heaviest titles in all the Melvins vast catalogue. The bestial riffage and frenetic interplay of the musicians make it clear why a band like Brutal Truth would give the nod, and at 2:05 we find ourselves in the transcendental eye of this metal storm, only to have our skulls split once more at the heaving end. Dammit, Melvins, why won’t you do more of this!? Weirdos! Such is the risk taken upon entering this strange cosmos of half heavy-metal beastie, half artisan headiness. One of the coolest things about this album is the unbelievable heaviness of the bass, which is compressed and cranked up to kill whether the song is metal or not.

All said and done, check out this album for the sheer weight of “The Bit,” for it will crush you. After that, be prepared for experimentation and ambiance, odd mixings, unconventional song structures, trombonery, and some challenging listens. As for the metal content of Stag, there is plenty more where that came from, and it can be found in their earlier work.

Whee! - 95%

untr00, April 3rd, 2003

This albums rules, but I'm not really sure why. Stag marked the end of the major label deal for the Melvins, and turns out to be one of the most eclectic (and perhaps most enjoyable) albums from the trio. Judging by how strange this album is (heavy metal trombone solo, anyone?) I honestly do wonder what in the great blue fuck possessed Atlantic to believe they could pitch this to their teenybopper audience. I mean, anyone can tell this is not commercial material from the first minute of the album.

Speaking of the first minute, Stag harbors one of the best intros ever (The Bit), opening up with a sitar and then exploding into King Buzzo's sludgy, dropped-d riffage. After this, the listener is treated to a nice little acoustic bit before Bar-X-The Rocking M and all its tromboney goodness slaps him/her over the head with a big bag of killer bees that spit smaller and yet more deadly killer bees from their mouths.

Of course, the album retains this schizophrenia throughout, following its strong introductions with white noise, ambience, swinging little diddies and downright noggin-scratching stuff. Probably not going to appeal to the average metal fan expecting a straight up metal release. Anyway, if you like the Melvins, then this is required. If you've never heard them and are brave enough to dive into the world of the Melvins, then this might be weird enough to make you wonder what else these fuckers can do. Either that or it will make you hate them with an ungodly passion. Yep. That's my opinion and if you disagree with any of it, then you are wrong.