King Buzzo Demands Tribute
Normally tribute albums are a painful affair for all involved. The artist honored receives a fat check to watch second-rate bands butcher their songs in hopes of riding these “borrowed hits” out of the gutter of obscurity. Thankfully, We Reach: The Music of the Melvins is an amazingly odd assortment of bands taking on over 20 years of material from these legends and incontrovertibly making it work.Some bands render versions that are practically interchangeable with the originals. Metal’s technically proficient underground champions Mastodon and The Dillinger Escape Plan deliver two of the most straightforward contributions on this album with “The Bit” and “Honey Bucket” respectively. High On Fire join with Keelhaul to do a textbook rendition of “Oven,” with current HOF bassist and Melvins-alumni Joe Preston providing an additional pinch of authenticity. Isis have plenty of experience playing 8-minute-plus songs, and their collaboration with Agoraphobic Nosebleed on “Boris” shows no trouble properly dragging it out.
Other bands offer more lax interpretations of the songs. Meatjack play “Shevil” note for note, but use distorted guitars and harsh screams to turn this originally quiet and eerie track into a doomy sludge-metal powerhouse. The opening track, Mare’s interpretation of “Nightgoat,” isn’t so much a cover as an experiment loosely based upon a Melvins song. It’s the sonic version of one of those made-for-TV movies that are about 5% rooted in fact.
In addition to other excellent tracks by Eyehategod, Dog Fashion Disco, and Pig Destroyer, there’s a number of unknowns on this compilation that certainly hold their own among such big names. Melvins fans will surely enjoy watching these rising stars of metal pay rightful homage.