Melvins - Mangled Demos From 1983 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Mangled Demos From 1983 (2005)


The Melvins. A band with near-legendary status. What can really be said about them without mentioning their ties to Kurt Cobain or their recent work with Jello Biafra? Well, what am I saying. I'm no historian, so all I can do is review this album.

According to the liner notes, these demos were recorded in a shithouse studio by a couple of ex-hippies who kept complaining that their amps were too loud. On drums was Mike Dillard, making this the only recording with the original lineup. The first two tracks are live recordings for the ELKS Lodge Christmas Broadcast. Yes, you get to hear some old public radio guys saying that the Melvins were about to play music that would "clear the sinuses."

The rest of the album is full of loud, fast, snotty hardcore punk. Yes, this was far before the Melvins took on their Sabbath-style, sludgy metal. While that style is apparent in songs like "Matt-Alec" and "Set Me Straight," most other songs were fast and closer to Minor Threat or Black Flag.

That's it, basically. Two radio songs, ten well-produced tracks, and then ten more seemingly self-recorded tracks. Well, actually, "Bibulous Confabulation During Rehearsal" is just five minutes of the band screwing around.

While the ten well-produced tracks could have been the first Melvins full-length album released, the ten or so self-recorded songs could easily be from any random trashy punk band. All of the material here is worth hearing and wonderful. In my opinion, at least. It's always hard to review albums like this in my opinion. Overall, it gets an 8, though I would have given the 10 well-produced tracks at least a 9 if they had been released alone. Whatever. More bang for your buck.

This album is a necessary purchase for any fan of the Melvins, and definitely needs to be checked out by anyone who digs on gritty, early hardcore punk.