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The Melvins is an iconic West Coast grunge band. Formed in 1983 The Melvins have been going strong with founder and front man Roger “Buzz” Osborne. After a career spanning 30 years, King Buzzo has released his solo album This Machine Kills Artists. Buzz is no stranger to speaking his mind and expecting anything different from him would be foolish. He has never had a desire to fit into anyone’s ideals concerning what his music should sound like and this is a huge part of what has made The Melvins so successful.
This Machine Kills Artists sounds similar in tone to Melvins’ albums, only with less powered instruments. Buzz has something to say with to this toned down album (“toned down” only in comparison to The Melvins standard line up, which provides a thunderously slow, lightly thrashy sound). There isn’t much difference between Buzz plugged in or not. He still plays hard, and is slightly cruel to, the very product he creates. Nothing about The Melvins is supposed to feel good or make sense of the world. So if that’s what you like, but without all the power heavy sounds, than This Machine Kills Artists is an ideal pick for you.
A few selected tracks stand out given the unique nature of this whole album. For example, “The Vulgar Lie” has a whispering approach to something devastatingly true. How ironic is that? And “How I Became Offensive” has a morose quality of “this is the way it is.” There is nothing more liberating to a track than when music explains the song’s purpose and Buzz gets this one right on the money.
This album might not be a record breaker in the terms of sales, but there are some great tracks in the composition. Regardless of where it stands on the charts, this album is pretty cool. But Buzz wouldn’t care about that.