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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Melvins Potent, Relentless Set

September 13, 1993|KATHERINE TURMAN

The Melvins, one of the most influential rock bands that you've probably never actually heard, proved its worth with a brief but potent set Friday night at the Whisky.

Although the Aberdeen, Wash., trio has only just released its major label debut, it has been together for 10 years--and has been credited by Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain and other Seattle stars as a seminal influence. Cobain even co-produced the group's new "Houdini" album.

While the band's ultra-heavy, punk-rock meets Black Sabbath dirge-metal isn't new, the Melvins support it with such relentless power and individuality that it's difficult to resist.

The performance was unpredictable and apocalyptic: Singer-guitarist King Buzzo, a surprisingly mellifluous vocalist, flailed on his guitar like a madman and sang one number facing the wall. Drummer Dale played in his underwear and the music even ventured surprisingly into psychedelic moodiness.

By the end of the 50-minute set, you were ready for anything. And sure enough, there was one more twist: no encore. These guys obviously take rock seriously enough not to take it too seriously.

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