Released in 1991, the same year as Nirvana's NEVERMIND, the Melvins' BULLHEAD reveals why one of these lauded Washington State bands went on to massive fame, and the other remained--well, the Melvins. While Kurt Cobain was admittedly highly influenced by the Melvins, particularly the guitar work of frontman Buzz "King Buzzo" Osbourne, he took the elder group's heavy sound and lined it with brilliant pop hooks. As is apparent on BULLHEAD, the Melvins had zero interest in accessibility, and opted to keep things slow, sludgy, and straightforward, valuing the power of the almighty riff above all else.
Drummer Dale Crover and bassist Lorax lay down a mighty foundation for King Buzzo's dense guitar lines and Ozzy-style vocals, with tracks such as the lurching "Boris" and the searing "If I Had an Exorcism" showcasing the ensemble's Sabbath-gone-minimalist aesthetic. The record's true highlights, however, can be found on "It's Shoved" and "Zodiac," the former a powerful dose of metallic stomps and rumbles, and the latter a surging tune where the trio picks up the pace to crushing effect. Those looking for the prototypical Melvins album will find it here in all of its pile-driving splendor.